Eve by Angelique Kidjo | Album Review

 

LISTEN: Eve by Angelique Kidjo

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Angelique Kidjo celebrates African women with her new album Eve

Angelique Kidjo is one of the most proactive GoWoman supporters of the African continent. In addition to her ardent charity work, she always brings out the best in Africa through her music.

Eve, released on January 28, 2014, is a multilingual polyrhythmic fest.  As a dedication to African women, Kidjo commits the album to call and response vocal exchange, inviting her back-up singers from various female choral groups to follow her in her chant and causes.

For a start, Kidjo makes a hipster move on M’baaba. During a visit in a Kenyan village, she recorded the voices of singing women. When she returned to Benin, she added the recording to her vibrant tribal composition, and brought in some electro kicks. This only happens once throughout this album. Eva featuring Nigerian singer Asa is calmer, soulful and seductive. The song is about the importance of friendship between women.

Kidjo continues, singing vivaciously over the bouncy percussions and vocal backing of the all-female Trio Teriba, on the Hausa-inspired song Hello, which also includes a shy funkadelic performance under heavier base. The energy perpetuates for Shango Wa which is mainly afrobeat. Orisha, which is the name of a Yoruba God, lies on a funk/soul note, with a fast-paced drum number. On Ebile, the U.S. based Kronos Quartet add some slightly skewed violins to  give the song a different edge from its everlasting drumful background.

With Bana, listeners are introduced to Kidjo’s mother Yvonne (nicknamed Eve as the title of the album). The song sounds like a Bantu church hymn. It even briefly pushes the type of guitar routine heard in Lingala music. On the song, Yvonne Kidjo is a delight; mother and daughter complete each other perfectly.

Blewu is an acoustic treat, solely led by an unstable guitar and Kidjo’s powerful vocals. Kamoushou has a bit of reggae and Congolese rumba, an enticing surprise that fittingly concludes with a shout, “It’s hot in here.”

Eve is a strong album, mostly upbeat and full of women, singing together and empowering each other. It illustrates Kidjo’s vision. Overall, the album is one of her greatest accomplishments.

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