Angelique Kidjo

In many ways, Angelique Kidjo is the quintessential world-music artist. A native of the West African nation of Benin, she has lived in Paris and New York while creating an extensive body of work that blithely mixes Benin's gogbahoun rhythms with everything from reggae, samba, and salsa to straight doses of Western pop, funk-rock, and gospel. Wherever Kidjo strays across the globe, at the center is her extraordinary, siren-like voice, which paints broad swaths of dazzling colors, riding a billowing wave of power while adding the nuanced strokes of a roots-savvy jazz diva. Kidjo's latest, Djin Djin (Razor & Tie), up for a Grammy in the Contemporary World Music Album category, is a characteristically expansive affair with an international cast of wisely employed contributors, including Alicia Keys, Branford Marsalis, Peter Gabriel, Josh Groban, Carlos Santana, and Ziggy Marley. It's partially a return to Beninese roots for Kidjo, with many of the rhythms anchored by the Gangbé Brass Band's Crespin Kpitki and Benoit Avihoue, even while covering tunes like Sade's "Pearls," the Stones' "Gimme Shelter," and even Ravel's "Bolero." Overall, Kidjo's sound is warm, rich, incisive, enticingly exotic, and riddled with soul.
Sun., Jan. 13, 5 p.m., 2008

 
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