| ANGELIQUE KIDJO
BLACK IVORY SOUL
Angelique Kidjo - vocals with various backings.
Recorded Paris and N.Y.C. 2001
3. Les Enfants Perdus
5. Ne Cedez Jamais
9. Ces Petits Riens
10. Black Ivory Soul ( edit )
12. Okan Bale
13. Iwoya ( Duet with Dave Matthews )
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.