BLACK IVORY SOUL

 
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Black Ivory Soul, Angelique Kidjo's exploration of the connection between her native Benin and the Bahian region in the north east of Brazil, might just be her most consistent and satisfying effort to date. "Tumba," fairly crackles with crisp axé rhythms that drive the song along, while "Ominira" and "Afrika" makes the distance between the two continents seem very small indeed. Kidjo uses her trademark lush harmonies throughout the album, and she's in great voice, even content to play second fiddle to Dave Matthews on "Iwoya,". On the whole this record's heart is in art, not commerce, even tossing in a spare, loving cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Ces Petits Riens" to close things out. This time around, Kidjo seems to have followed her muse, and the results are, virtually, everything she's always promised to do.