Album: Angelique Kidjo, Õÿö (Razor & Tie/Proper)

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The Independent Culture

Õÿö is Beninese diva Angelique Kidjo's celebration of her roots and influences, from early icons such as Miriam Makeba and the Togolese singer Bella Bellow to Santana – whose "Samba Pa Ti" brought the Saturday-night dances of her teenage years to romantic conclusions – and soul and funk legends such as Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin and James Brown.

Yoruban translations of "Samba Pa Ti" and Otis's "I've Got Dreams To Remember" are included here alongside Makeba's lullaby "Lakutshona Llonga" and a great take on Aretha's "Baby I Love You", but the standout crossovers are a version of Brown's seminal "Cold Sweat", and a duet with John Legend on a "Move On Up" propelled by a bubbling Afro-soul rhythm bed. The Beninese traditional song "Atcha Houn" is the first thing Kidjo ever sang onstage, as a six-year-old stand-in for a sick performer in her mother's theatre company, while "Mbube" is an updated version of the standard "Wimoweh". Most surprising of all, though, are an elegant vocal version of Sidney Bechet's "Petite Fleur" accompanied by bowed bass, and the Bollywood song "Dil Main Chuppa Ke Pyar Ka", recalled from repeated screenings in her childhood.

Download this Move On Up; Cold Sweat; Baby I Love You; Petite Fleur