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by Rachel Devitt

January 29, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Angelique Kidjo

by Rachel Devitt  |  January 29, 2014

Like a pint-sized, multilingual, singing-activist ball of fire, Angéique Kidjo burst onto the global music scene 20+ years ago with her Island Records debut, an electrifying slice of Afropop called Logozo. Of course, the Beninese singer (child of a Fon father and a Yoruba mother and fluent in both languages) had been performing for years: She had a national hit with a cover of Miriam Makeba's "Les Trois Z" as a teenager and recorded several albums in both Africa and Paris, where she moved to study at the CIM School of Jazz. But the rest of the world fell for her in 1991 -- and continued doing so over album after fascinating, collaboration-filled, boundary-hopping album, from 1994's Paisley Park-recorded Ayé to her trilogy exploring African roots in music (like jazz, samba and Caribbean music). Her just-released Eve is a tribute to African womanhood that features famous pals like Dr. John and the Kronos Quartet, as well as several female choirs from Benin and Kenya and her mother, for whom the album is named. In short, it's just the kind of thought-provoking, heart-pulling, body-shaking album Kidjo has made a career of. Take a listen to highlights from her smart, joyful, soulful oeuvre with our spotlight playlist!

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