Album review: Cecelia by Angélique Kidjo


Probably because my MP3 player is a recorder first and foremost is why it plays tracks in alphabetical order. This can lead to some fortuitous selections – not quite random, but not as the musician or producer had planned. The beautiful sunny optimistic “Cucla” is the official opening track for Angélique Kidjo’s new (April 2019) Cecelia album dedicated to Cuban singer Celia Cruz.

My player decided that the alphabetically correct “Baila Yemaya” should go first. Either track is a simple sunny dance-in-your-step tune but neither give away any secrets as to where this album is going. Complex time signatures, interesting use of brass band (Gangbe Brass Band), jazz strings.

Every track is excellent mostly fun and dancing but sometimes more serious like “Elegua”. Kidjo was born in Ouidah, Benin and studied music in Paris. She is a multi linguist with at least fourteen albums to her name going back to 1981.

An album for anytime, but I can imagine an evening with the sun going down but the heat of the day still present, putting this album to bring the night to life. Or a damp Saturday afternoon in February, closing eyes to imagine a sunnier place.

Over to Wikipedia for the biog and other recordings:

Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo, known as Angélique Kidjo (born July 14, 1960), is a Beninese singer-songwriter, actress, and activist who is noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos. Time magazine has called her “Africa’s premier diva”. The BBC has included Kidjo in its list of the African continent’s 50 most iconic figures. The Guardian has listed her as one of its Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World[6] and Kidjo is the first woman to be listed among “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” by Forbes magazine.


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