Angelique Kidjo, whom TIME has deemed "Africa's premier diva," collaborates with Bono, one of the continent's most ardent supporters, on her new album, OYO. Upon hearing music from the album, he very much wanted to contribute, and so he joined her and John Legend on a version of Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up." Now that the collaboration is complete, Razor & Tie will release the album in the U.S. on April 6.
The focus on OYO is the music that shaped Kidjo's artistic formation. The album includes "Lakutshn Llanga," a lullaby made famous by Kidjo's hero, Miriam Makeba; Yoruban interpretations of Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember" and Santana's "Samba Pa Ti;" a collaboration with Diane Reeves on "Monfe Ran E," an homage to the Aretha Franklin hit, "Baby I Love You;" and a take on James Brown's "Cold Sweat."
Recorded and mixed by Russell Elevado (D'Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu) and produced by Kidjo and longtime collaborator Jean Hebrail, Oyo features a band of highly accomplished musicians, including another Benin-born, New York-based artist, the guitarist Lionel Loueke, as well as Christian McBride on upright bass, Kendrick Scott on drums and Thiokho Diagne on percussion. The trumpeter Roy Hargove makes a memorable appearance on "Samba Pa Ti."
OYO has already garnered glowing praise overseas. Clive Davis of London's Sunday Times says, "The Beninese singer's celebration of her musical roots turns out to be a magnificently upbeat marriage of African tradition and western pop." In a major feature, The Financial Times says, "No one has followed in [Miriam] Makeba's footsteps more convincingly than Kidjo." Metro UK proclaims Kidjo to be "brilliant at shaking up expectations" and lauds her "joyously powerful" vocals.
Leading up to the release, she will perform material from OYO and her previous album, the GRAMMY-winning Djin Djin on a tour of the U.S.; see below for an itinerary of confirmed dates.
Constantly recording and touring, Kidjo is equally engaged in advocacy and activism, from UNICEF (for whom she is a Goodwill Ambassador) to her own Batonga Foundation, which provides educational aid to young African girls. She just performed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics and will be prominently featured in the FIFA World Cup Kick Off Celebration Concert in June.
Oyo U.S. Edition
2. Samba Pa Ti (feat. Roy Hargrove)
3. Move On Up (feat. Bono and John Legend)
4. Lakutshona Llanga
5. Iíve Got Dreams To Remember
7. Monfe Ran E (feat. Dianne Reeves)
8. Dil Main Chuppa Ke Pyar Ka
9. Petite Fleur
11. Cold Sweat
12. Out Of Africa
14. Atcha Houn
15. You Can Count On Me (Bonus Track)
16. Agbalagba (Bonus Track)
Bono appears courtesy of Mercury Records Limited.
Winter/Spring 2010 Tour Dates
February 20 Zellerbach Auditorium Berkeley, CA
February 25 Edmonds Center for the Arts Edmonds, WA
February 28 Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles, CA
March 2 Dakota Jazz Club Minneapolis, MN
March 3 Dakota Jazz Club Minneapolis, MN
March 4 Lincoln Hall Chicago, IL
March 5 Adrienne Arsht Center Miami, FL
March 26 The Town Hall New York, NY
March 27 Lisner Auditorium Washington, DC
March 28 Grand Opera House Wilmington, DE
April 1 Troy Music Hall Troy, NY
April 2 Somerville Theatre Somerville, MA
April 3 Somerville Theatre Somerville, MA