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4.7 out of 5 stars23
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on July 1, 2004
With the current predeliction for over produced American Idol-esque screeching it's wonderful to be reminded of people who know their craft and continue to explore it like Kidjo. This album is a wonderful pop vocal album, period, and I hope it gets more exposure than the world music bin. The rythms are great, her voice is so clear and strong, every song is a delight! She is an African exploring the Carribean, but her emotion speaks to everyone.
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on June 17, 2004
"Oyaya" is the Yoruban word for joy, a fitting title for Angélique Kidjo's new album. _Oyaya!_ is a high-spirited album. It is impossible to listen to it without moving, even if I'm only dancing in my chair. The third in Angélique's series of albums exploring the influence of African music in the diaspora, _Oyaya!_ takes on Afro-Latin/Caribbean music. Even more than the previous 2 albums (_Oremi_ which explored American music and _Black Ivory Soul_ which explored Brazilian music), _Oyaya!_ blends the music rather than using it as an influence. I'm not sure which countries or styles of Caribbean music; her website mentions salsa, calypso, meringue, and ska. But it doesn't really matter. What matters is that it makes me smile, it makes me dance. Angélique's voice is as beautiful and sensual as ever, and so is the music. If you like dance-y Latin music, give this a try.
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on April 10, 2005
In the intersection of rival forces strength can be developed. Kidjo has a huge, soulful voice inside a petite frame (I believe she's something like 5'2") and her voice has never sounded more assured & vigorous than here.

Musically, her African roots are transplanted to the music of the Caribbean and Latin America. Her producers on this record, Steve Berlin and Alberto Salas, avoid the over-production that has plagued some of her recent work. The emphasis here is on Kidjo's magnificent voice (as it should be), supported by colorful and spirited Latin percussion and instrumentation. Fast-moving songs and excellent variety make this her best album in a decade, and quite possibly the best of her career.
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on August 17, 2005
This album is not really meant to reflect the true music of her homeland of Benin West Africa. It is a story that tells the journey of the West African Slave deposited in the Spanish, French, English,and Dutch speaking Caribbean as well as parts of South America. If you have a keen ear and have travelled to such locales, you will be able to identify the variety of rhythms and beats from the various islands and countries. Her voice is strong, sultry, and beautiful! In my opinion this is another winner.
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on February 28, 2013
Stumbled across this amazing performer while listening to other world music and immediately fell in love with her energy, voice, skill, and passion for music. I love this CD and I find myself smiling and bopping to the music every time I play it. Her range, and the emotion she puts into her songs are awesome, and she makes it all seem utterly effortless and totally pleasurable. I highly recommend--for anyone who enjoys good solid music.
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on January 7, 2005
I first stumbled across Angelique Kidjo when I was searching for latin themed music through another online music seller. I had not heard of her but had seen her review in People from three years ago, so when I stumbled across her name I listened to the samples of Black Ivory Soul and bought it immediately. I turned around and bought Oyaya, and was not disappointed. I'd have to say my favorite tracks are Seyin Drjo and Djaovamin Yi, her spirited and fitting tribute to Celia Cruz. I look forward to future projects from this gifted artist and would recommend her to anyone who asked.
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on October 16, 2015
Amazingly eclectic Afro-Caribbean sound on this CD. This is SO different from "Black Ivory Soul" (which I love), but is definitely more in the jazz arena. She kills it. The work is passionate and sophisticated, all the while maintaining an infectious Latin feel infused with raw African elements. Simply brilliant percussion. This should be standard listening for everywhere from Miami to Rio... all the way to West Africa.
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on March 24, 2006
Tight Latino-Caribbean band deep with polyrhythms and horn charts sharp as a razor. Big alto voice tends to stay in the mix. Uses a wide variety of styles that sound more New World than African, but African roots surface here and there in especially hot rhythms and lighter elements of the upper part of the mix. Not as African as I had expected. Traditional in many ways.

To be honest, I was disappointed. The Kidjo I want more of is the one who turned the movie, Lightning in a Bottle, on its head. Her boogied Buddy Guy into an incendiary take on Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child." That's the voodoo we want from Kidjo; you won't find it here. [49:47]
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on November 2, 2004
Angelique mesmerises.Her Salsa journey is real ladies and gentlemen.This African queen is truly a bridge between Africa and the diaspora.For the amnesiacs and cynics remember that salsa is African music first and foremost.Other influences were patched on to this unique genre - from Africa.No man woman or child can sit still when salsa is pulsating away.Angelique has succesfully crossed over from "pure" African music back to the roots that bind all of our African and Afro-Carribean brethren.That continent was NEVER dark as the descendants of racist colonisers and incumbent wishful thinkers would have us believe.Africa had and always will have brilliant light to shine away your blues for the whole world even for the bigots out there.African music stands for fun,reflection and meditation.The listener chooses the mood and the music follows and lubricates the listener's mind and massages the blues away.Angelique captures this with brilliance.This is a great album listed in my mind as a historical piece which I will enjoy 30 years from now.Thanks to talents like Angelique.Madam African Princess, Angelique, I have this to say to you: keep belting out those incredible vocals and your band those amazing salsa riffs.Angelique and your band ROCK!!!!You relax the tired old Doctor after a long day at work.I love ALL your work and I will continue to collect all of it INCLUDING ALL YOUR FUTURE ALBUMS.
Ed Ndovi, MD
Fan numero uno for Angelique Kidjo
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on May 21, 2004
Oyaya! is a lush kaleidoscope of sound pulsing with the irresistible Latin rhythms of the Caribbean. For this CD, Angelique journeyed to the Caribbean to bridge the links between African and Caribbean music. What she delivers is a vibrant masterpiece that effuses joy and hope in every recording. The musicianship on this CD is astounding and will leave you clamoring for an encore. I have been playing this CD in my car for about a month and cannot pull myself to remove it from my CD player. If you are an Angelique fan (even if you're not) this CD is definitely worth adding to your collection.
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