In a field filled with cookie-cutter artists, Grammy award-winning Angelique Kidjo certainly stands out of the pack. Although her music is certainly not what most would consider mainstream, I think it has that commercial appeal, as in the beats are catchy and creative, her voice is amazing and sweeps even the most stoic person of off their feet.
Kidjo was born in Benin, West Africa, in 1960, and has a wide range of musical influences. It would be a shame to solely stick her into the “african music” box, which in itself is quite diverse. She meshes together elements of American soul, funk, rap, and jazz, Brazilian samba, Jamaican reggae, and Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa to create music that stand the test of time. What I truly admire about her work, which includes the following albums to name a few Logozo (1991), Ayé (1994) and Õÿö (2010), is that she treats music as a means of communication. In my opinion, many artists these days have neglected that aspect of music as use it solely as a means to get rich and look “cool” as juvenile as that may seem for me to say.
To me, of Cameroonian descent born in Montreal, her voice takes me back to when my grandmother would play African gospel, in which the women’s voices transmitted to the listener their overwhelming joy. It takes me to the “home” I have yet to meet since I have not yet graced her grounds.
If you haven’t heard of her, I suggest you take a listen. Her music is conveniently available on Itunes.
Image layout: Ashley
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