Artiste: Angelique Kidjo
LIKE HER performances on the stage, the sounds emanating from her vocal cords and even her musical heritage, Angelique Kidjo has always told stories taking her listeners on an audible expedition. With her eight studio album titled Oyo, this is a nostalgic journey sailing you through the sounds of a dynamic musical childhood.
The opening chanting Ballard Zelie is reminiscent of the anthemic Malaika. Though Malaika’s remake by Kidjo has always been sung as an ode to her idol Miriam Makeba, Zelie is composed by Togolese Bella Bellow and still holds on par with classics like Fifa, Agolo and of course Malaika.
Oyo features a collection of Kidjo’s interpretations on classic songs like Baby, I love you featuring Dianne Reeves, Cutis Mayfield’s Move on up graced with the vocals of John Legend alongside Yoruba versions of Otis Redding’s I’ve got dreams to remember and Samba pa ti featuring Roy Hargrove with Santana on guitar. As unimaginable as this voyage may seem, it still falls short of the grand ambition and solid execution exhibited on its predecessor Djin Djin.
As its former featured collaborations with the likes of Alicia Keys, Josh Groburn, Damian Marley, Joss Stone and Malian blind couple Amadou and Miriam, With Oyo, it seems Kidjo gets lost every now and again and tones down in vocal range to accommodate the album’s overtly vintage sound. On second thought, maybe that was in fact the album’s subliminal intent.
– Wana Udobang