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Aye

4.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 8, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

10 songs

Amazon.com

Angélique Kidjo's high-powered soprano and stage charisma have carried the diminutive singer far from her native country of Bénin. She recorded her first solo album in Paris, her second in Miami, and her new one, Ayé in London with Soul II Soul's Will Mowat as one producer and in Minneapolis with Prince sidekick David Z. as the other. Kidjo sings in Fon and Yoruba (West African languages), but both producers as well as her cowriter Jean Hébrail reinforce her African rhythms with programmed drums and synths. The result is neither African music nor Anglo-American pop but a strange hybrid that contains some of the most exciting dance music anywhere today.

African purists will be annoyed that Mowat and Z. have pushed Kidjo even further from her roots than before. American dance club denizens will be bothered that they can't understand what she's singing (the translations in the CD booklet for Ayé suggest they aren't missing much--mere platitudes about optimism, tolerance, the homeless, love and God). Americans may also be thrown by the skipping polyrhythms of Kidjo's music, so different from the fat, on-the-one funk they're used to. Yet it's Kidjo's ability to sing strong and hard (with a little sizzle in her timbre as the notes trail off) even as she skips effortlessly through the polyrhythms that makes her sound so fresh. Her triumph is not the breakthrough of real Sub-Saharan music but of a new international pop that marries West African beats to the technology of the Western dance record. --Geoffrey Himes

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 8, 1994)
  • Original Release Date: March 8, 1994
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fontana Island
  • ASIN: B000003QLB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,429 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Angelique Kidjo's CD "Aye," in my humble opinion, is her greatest work. In it, she creates a bright Afro-pop sound that dominates the entire CD. The lead song "Agolo" is an upbeat, energetic dance number that is catchy. The video for "Agolo" was nominated for a Grammy Award. The harder-edged "Adouma" and the expansive, soaring "Djan-Djan" help mix things up, making "Aye" an adventurous listening experience.

Here is some background on Angelique Kidjo: She was born, one of nine children, in the village of Ouidah in the little West African country of Benin. Her father is a musician, her mother a clothes merchant and director of a large dance troupe. Angelique began to sing and dance at the age of six. One of her older brothers introduced her at an early age to western rock, such as The Stones, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. She also was exposed to jazz, Arabic and Pakistani music in addition to church music. She began to sing in a band called Sphinx, which became popular and won several local competitions. In 1980 she moved to Paris and enrolled at music school, learning classical French songs and jazz. Thereafter she studied under the jazz singer Joy Kane for two years, something that had a strong influence on her later career and helped develop further her powerful and deep voice, as well as her rhythm and precision. In 1984 she participated in a tour with Radio France in West Africa. During this time she made several recordings in France and The Netherlands, before being discovered by Chris Blackwell of Island Records.

If you enjoy World music or are just curious about it, "Aye" is a perfect choice. It's Afro-pop sound is infectious and has just enough of an American pop flavor to win over the most fickle listener. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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Format: Audio CD
This album has the capacity to make a vast variety of people stop and listen to it; "Agolo" in particular is one of those rare pieces of contemporary music that can improve the atmosphere of many a situation and you might find yourself thinking of and trying to hum or shout the melody yourself.
Translations are included in the notes, but even without knowledge of what Kidjo is singing about, the melodies, percussion and bass have been designed to endure and stand on their own and they do so beautifully.
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By A Customer on March 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Aye's tunes are instantly appealing and the polyrhythms both interesting and foot-snapping. I heard Angelique Kidjo at an aerobics class and went out the same day and bought all her CD's. I have lost count of the number of friends of mine who heard her music at my place and then went out and did the same! There is something about her voice and the spirit of her singing that never gets monotonous even if you listen to her every day - and I have only said this about Thelonious Monk's music - so its high praise indeed.
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Format: Audio CD
What a collection of sounds and rhythms! I remember seeing Angelique in concert; she at one point invited all the children in the hall to come up on stage and dance. Every time I listen, it seems that we humans might just be able to live on earth together after all. One of my favourite CD's.
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Format: Audio CD
She has a beautiful crisp voice and this CD is got some great percusion which realy compliments the African lyrics. There is a remix of Agolo(the 1st track). I'm not sure who remixed it but I have it on a DJ mix tape and it's a hot dance beat worth looking for...
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By A Customer on October 25, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Upfront....This "Lady from Benin" has a wonderful voice and uses it masterfully...No weak songs here..You can play this collection all the way through without having to skip a selection....
Excluding her latest CD "Oremi"(means My Friend) which I have not yet listened to in it's entirety, I consider this her best work...I have 3 of her CD's.....
Trivia...Her Yoruba dialect(Benin) is somewhat different than mine(S.W.Nigeria)...But I understand it perfectly. Also the one track from Oremi I have listened to "Babalao" is a very familiar folktale within the Yorubas in S.W. Nigeria....not suprising really, we are neighbors...
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Format: Audio CD
Aye rocks and pounds with one strong track after another. This may be Afro-pop's answer to "Thriller," strong, confident, polished, monster beats.
Kidjo, originally from Benin, looks like Grace Jones and sings with girl rapper aggression. Hang on for this ride -- horns, James Brown down beats, scratchy congas, and Kidjo singing of Yoruba gods and goddesses, love and helping others.
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By A Customer on October 17, 1998
Format: Audio CD
I have no clue what the language is. But one thing is for sure. The singer has proved that, music knows No language or national barriers. Angelique Kodjo jas surely won my heart with her captivating music. Her music can also be seen and heard on WNVC 56 in the Washington Metro area on Friday nights at 10.
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