Oyo: Angelique Kidjo

 Angelique sings mostly in Beninese languages, but Oyo is essentially a masterpiece of global pop after more than 20 years in the music industry.

Oyo: Angelique Kidjo

Label: Razor & Tie

The musical influences from Angelique Kidjo’s upbringing in the country of Benin are the primary focus of Oyo, which is named for the Oyo Empire (c. 1400-1905) of West Africa. There are a smattering of regional tunes, including the vocally-driven ‘Zelie,’ the Afro-beat anthem ‘Kelele’ and the Brazilian-tinged ‘Afia.’ Oyo is largely an homage to the music of other musicians, with songs by James Brown, Miriam Makeba, Carlos Santana, Dianne Reeves, John Legend, Roy Hargrove and Sidney Bechet. Angelique sings mostly in Beninese languages, but Oyo is essentially a masterpiece of global pop after more than 20 years in the music industry.

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Matthew Forss

Verge magazine's music columnist, Matthew Forss holds a BA in biology, MS in exercise science, and an MFA in creative writing. Since 2000, he has been writing world music reviews for Edmonton-based Inside World Music.com, while amassing a very large collection of ethnomusicological recordings from every country in the world. Matthew continues to publish music articles and cultural book reviews in various academic journals and magazines and has an acquired taste for Central Asian linguistics (Uzbek, Kazakh, and Tajik).

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