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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

ANGELIQUE KIDJO
BLACK IVORY SOUL

Angelique Kidjo - vocals with various backings.
Recorded Paris and N.Y.C. 2001
Columbia 506069 2


Crotchet

 



1. Refavela
2. Tumba
3. Les Enfants Perdus
4. Bahia
5. Ne Cedez Jamais
6. Iemanja
7. Afirika
8. Olofoofo
9. Ces Petits Riens
10. Black Ivory Soul ( edit )
11. Ominara
12. Okan Bale
13. Iwoya ( Duet with Dave Matthews )
14. Mondjuba
15. Les Enfants Perdus ( Single Version )

This is a very difficult disc to review. On reading the blurb on the back of the case I was expecting a mixture of West African blended with the music of Brazil and pop rhythms as well as funk, salsa and jazz. I am afraid that the best description I can conjure up on first impression is of the Turkish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. The emphasis is decidedly on the pop side of the music with many of the tracks being over arranged in terms of backing vocals.

Angelique Kidjo is from Benin in West Africa and is referred to as one of the world's best-loved African singers and as an ambassador for her country. Perhaps I am missing something, but she sounds, on the evidence of this disc, to be a very average talent. Her voice is pleasant but nothing more and her delivery is quite ordinary. The majority of the material is in French and there are some unfortunate nasal nuances to be heard on many of the tunes - rather in the style of someone copying the more obvious characteristics of Edith Piaf.

The songs are competent in their structure but are not, on the whole, memorable . The African element is very much lost in the French atmosphere. The accompaniments are highly competent but fail to inspire. There is the odd bright moment on tunes such " Afrika " which has an infectious township lilt in the style of Abdullah Ibrahim.

I think the basic concept of this album is good but it would probably have been much better with a lot less production and less of an attempt at appealing to a younger audience . There is a great deal of wonderful vocal music available at present and I could not recommend this particular disc in preference to many of the others.

Dick Stafford.

 

 
 
 
 



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