on August 14, 2005
If you are new to Angelique Kidjo then this is the best introduction to her range and power, spanning the wide spectrum of her styles from her African roots to more European/American influences. If you are new to African music, this is an easy introduction, and if you have other of her albums you'll want to add this.
My only complaint - it was released before Black Ivory Soul, so doesn't include her more Brazilian music, which I love. Her voice is astonishing, her talent unique. I was lucky enough to see her live in Santa Cruz California a couple of years back and she could have filled the auditorium with her voice alone, without the aid of a microphone. She is one of those rare people who truly can sing astonishingly well. She blew me away.
on May 16, 2001
If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing this renowned world beat artist, this 74-minute anthology is the place to begin! Angelique's music manages to mix contemporary dance rhythms into African pop, with the sum coming out equal or greater than it's parts! Even amid the provocative, eclectic arrangements Kidjo's voice stands out, able to ride the uptempo rhythms and project the ballads with equal confidence and conviction.
Tracks from all five of her albums are included, plus a remarkale version of Gershwin's SUMMERTIME. There is a lot of variety within the chosen tracks, including softer performances (e.g., MALAIKA, NAIMA), a variety of danceable rhythm cuts, a couple of guest stars (Kelly Price, Santana), and even a unique cover version of VOODOO CHILD that sheds new light on the Jimi Hendrix classic. A highly recommended overview of a unique, original artist! It's a tribute to her talent that a number of excellent tracks didn't make it onto this CD (I wish her duet with Cassandra Wilson was included), but those that did are as good a cross-section of her career as one will find!
Angelique Kidjo was primarily influenced by the like of Jimmie Hendrix, Santna, Miriam Makeba, James Brown, fela kuti, The Beatles, and Aretha Franklin; her music styles encompass afro-funk, reggae, samba, salsa, gospel, jazz, Zairean rumba. All in all, though, she emerges strong African, Afro-American, and Afro-European.
This album of her best opens with "Summertime". Yeah, big deal, you might think, like how many versions of "Summertime" do you probably have in your collection. But I'll wager that none of them touch this version. She states that she never sings a song she doesn't love, that doesn't become her own, and that's sure true with this tried and true standard. Then comes her version of Jimmy Hendrix' "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)", paying homage to one who greatly influenced her from childhood. Other standouts among her best ever are "Botonga", "Womba Lombo", the softly beautiful & almost fragile "Malaika", "Open Your Eyes" (duet with Kelly Price)
The most beautiful and touching ones, IMHO, come in a group: "Naima" with Carlos Santana (Another powerful influence in her music), "Tournier La Page", "Babalao", and "Agossi". I have no intention of slighting the other numbers here, but these are my very favorites.
If you haven't heard this songstress, I sure as heck suggest you give her a try. I do not believe you will be sorry.
on November 19, 2001
Angelique Kidjo's warm voice and Afropop sensibilities make this one of the best World Music albums you can find this year. Summertime, however, just blew me away the first time I heard. It is probably the best non-English adaptation of a classic American standard that I have ever heard. All other versions seem pretty tame. I also love Wumba Lumba [sic?], if only just to sing along to it.
on June 29, 2004
Toni Morrison uses the phrase "New World African Woman" in describing the rich diaspora of those of us w/African roots across the globe. I think that term is so fitting of Angelique Kidgo and her music. Believe it or not, I learned of Ms. Kidjo through reading a novel but my love of this CD is all real.
Her rendition of Summertime is like no other you've heard before. My other favorites are Open Your Eyes featuring Kelly Price and Naima featuring Carlos Santana. Although most of the CD is in French or her native African tongue, you'll be singing along with each track in no time! Regardless of the language, one can still feel the message in her music. I patiently await Ms. Kidjo's next release!
on May 19, 2001
This album is a perfect starter for those who haven't heard Angelique's music. It's also a perfect collection for current fans. All of the best songs are here, including "Summertime" and "Tourner la Page." There are as many ballads as there are up-beat, danceable tunes. Angelique will definitely have you "keep on moving."
on September 10, 2001
A friend of mine was once sharing a house in West Africa with a young American guy who had a fondness of waif-like female singers (Jewell, Natalie Imbruglia et al.). Periodically my buddy would put Angelique Kidjo on the boombox to, as he put it, "air the house out." Indeed, it is amazing that such a big voice comes out of such a small person.
Sadly, I doubt that AK will ever move product in the same volumes as Jewell (but, hey, we can always dream!). She's never really cracked the US market, and past 40, her days for being marketed as a "hot chick singer" are fading (Tina Turner notwithstanding). This disk, as pleasant an introduction to her music as it is, has all the markings of one last push to put her over the top (and make some money off her back catalog). I can't believe it was an accident that the first two tracks on this disk (Gershwin's "Summertime" and Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)") are the two tunes with which the uninitiated will be most familiar. Hopefully there is a big enough market for her music that AK can remain a commercially viable artist, since she shows no real signs of slackening creatively.
So much for the biz, what about the music? Well, it covers all the obvious tracks, from "Agossi" from her first "international" album, to an acoustic version of "Malaika," to her upbeat dance numbers. Her take on "Summertime" is memorable, as is her "Voodoo Chile," (though nothing could compare to the absolutely ferocious version I heard her perform live). Like one of the other reviewers noted, it would have been nice to have included her duet with Cassandra Wilson on "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" from that singer's "Traveling Miles" album. ("What's with all this voodoo?," you might ask. Well, they invented that stuff in Benin.) My nomination for another track for inclusion would be AK's mind-bending mountain-o'-overdubs version of "Oh Holy Night" off the International Special Olympics Christmas album (great disk - check it out!). But at 74 minutes playing time, and nary a weak track, you can't complain about being shortchanged. All in all, a very nice introduction to this musician's work.
on November 4, 2004
The CD is still not as good as seeing Kidjo in live performance but great enough to warrant a five star.
on September 18, 2001
All Music Guide has this to say about Kidjo. "Afro-funk, reggae, samba, salsa, gospel, jazz, Zairean rumba, zouk and makossa are combined through the music of soulful, Benin-born and Paris-based, vocalist, Angelique Kidjo. "The New York Times", hailed her for "growls and swoops that link African tradition to American soul music", while, iMagazine claimed, "There has rarely been an African diva of such wholesomeness and fertility to the power and intoxication of Angelique Kidjo"
Keep On Moving is the best of Kidjo. Although, the lyrics are not in English, it does not diminish the energy and soulfulness of the recording. Great dance record and a lot of fun.. Some of the songs production qualities are better than what is currently being recorded in the states under the name of soul. Her version of Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" is almost worth the price of admission. Something different to spice up your collection
on October 16, 2002
Okay, so maybe that's not all true...seeing her in concert is the only way it gets better! But "The Best of" takes hits and sleeper singles from all albums (save "Pretty" her first, and the fantastic new "Black Ivory Soul", another must-have) creating a blend of soft and slow, soulful and powerful, and all out fun and danceable. The perfect way to liberally sample her career, and the absolute necessity for anyone unfamiliar to the music. You'll listen to it once and the go out to get the others!