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16 avril 2007

Music Review: Angelique Kidjo's - Djin Djin

Angelique Kidjo is a world renowned, Benin born, Grammy nominated singer. Her diverse music has won fans across the globe, as she effortlessly blends traditional African pop music with contemporary, modern grooves. She has been appointed as Good Will Ambassador by UNICEF, and performed her music in front of world leaders and dignitaries as well as millions of fans. Her new CD, Djin Djin is a welcome return for this musical queen.

Kidjo is an accomplished singer/songwriter in her own right, one who could easily sell millions of records at any given time. Any collaboration with the “hot” artist of the day, to help boost record sales is totally unnecessary. If any such artist were presented on a full length disc of hers, it would certainly help further establish and solidify Angelique’s reputation.

That is exactly what happens with this CD, as Angelique shares the stage with several celebrity musicians including Brandford Marsalis & Alicia Keys("Djin Djin"), Carlos Santana & Josh Groban ("Pearls"), Joss Stone("Gimme Shelter") , Peter Gabriel ("Salala"), Ziggy Marley ("Sedjedo"), and African music legends Amadou and Mariam ("Senamou –(C'est L'amour)"). The result is a hybrid of musical styles and influences, all beautifully coming together. If you didn’t have enough reasons to buy this CD before, you most certainly do now.

While the collaboration efforts are noteworthy and excellent, the real gems are found in the songs where Angelique is free to do her thing, unencumbered by making nice and sharing her vocal space with her guests. True, her work with Groban on the Sade reworking of is almost better than the original and it is one of the highlight songs of the album. But she also shines brightly on "Pearls""Ae Ae," and she makes us feel so at home on the shuffling "Papa. " To top it all of, Angelique hands in a amazing rendition of the classical piece Bolero entitled "Lonlon (Ravel's Bolero)," bridging European classical music with African folk.

The album sounds incredible thanks to super producer Tony Visconti’s guiding hand on the boards. With a clean and dry mix being applied, there is very little outboard effects and studio tricks on the songs. Every hand drum is heard with crystal-like clarity and every musician is heard clearly, making this one of the smoothest mixed albums that I’ve heard in a long while. With this CD, Angelique’s musical career looks ready for an invigorating boost! Get yours now and give yourself a boost as well, at your local Starbucks Coffee Shop, as the CD is distributed by their new Starbucks Entertainment/Hear Music Division.

The song "Mutoto Kwanza" is dedicated to UNICEF by Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo.

Angelique Kidjo - Djin Djin Razor &Tie Records/Starbucks Entertainment

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