℗ 2014 SLG, LLC
Taking over Miriam Makeba’s mantle as the most iconic and socially active female African musician of her generation, the electrifying Angelique Kidjo has a hard, keening voice that's impossible to ignore whether she's singing or talking about various issues. Dedicated to the women of Africa and named after Kidjo's mother, Eve notably adds several African women vocal groups from Benin and Kenya to Kidjo’s usual blend of Afropop, funk, rock, and Latin music. Other wrinkles include the appearance of Dr. John on the driving “Kulumbu,” The Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg on the cohesive and inspired “Awalole,” and a surprisingly loose Kronos Quartet (joined by African percussionists) on “Ebile.” The list of standout cuts here is long, but it starts with the aforementioned “Awalole,” the hard-edged groove of “Orisha” and “Shango Wa,” and the modernized call-and-response of the Kenyan folk tune “M’Baamba.” Kidjo has often looked outside her Beninese heritage to update and expand her musical vision. She does an excellent job once again on Eve, proving that music is truly a universal language.