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Oyo by Angelique Kidjo
Released: Mar 2010
Label: Razor & Tie
On Oyo, Kidjo pays homage to the songs of her youth, starting with a siren call salute to the late Bella Bellow and ending (almost) with the first song she ever sang onstage: "Atcha Houn." In between, we hear Aretha Franklin translated into Fon, a Bollywood nugget, Otis Redding and Santana covers. But the high points aren't always obvious: "Cold Sweat" falls flat, while Sidney Bechet's "Petite Fleur" is ravishing. (She ravishes us again on the Brazil-inspired "Afia.") And when she and John Legend team up for "Move On Up," you can feel the entirety of young Africa stirring in response.
Sarah Bardeen