Angelique Kidjo’s OYO, featuring single “Move On Up” with Bono and John Legend
Kidjo Interprets Music That Inspired Her Growing Up in Benin:
Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, James Brown and Miriam Makeba, Plus Beninese Traditional Music and Songs from Hollywood and Bollywood Films
Angelique Kidjo, whom TIME has deemed “Africa’s premier diva,” collaborates with Bono, one of the continent’s most ardent supporters, on her new album, OYO. Upon hearing music from the album, he very much wanted to contribute, and so he joined her and John Legend on a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up.” Now that the collaboration is complete, Razor & Tie will release the album in the U.S. on April 6.
The focus on OYO is the music that shaped Kidjo’s artistic formation. The album includes “Lakutshn Llanga,” a lullaby made famous by Kidjo’s hero, Miriam Makeba; Yoruban interpretations of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember” and Santana’s “Samba Pa Ti;” a collaboration with Diane Reeves on “Monfe Ran E,” an homage to the Aretha Franklin hit, “Baby I Love You;” and a take on James Brown’s “Cold Sweat.”
Recorded and mixed by Russell Elevado (D’Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu) and produced by Kidjo and longtime collaborator Jean Hebrail, Oyo features a band of highly accomplished musicians, including another Benin-born, New York-based artist, the guitarist Lionel Loueke, as well as Christian McBride on upright bass, Kendrick Scott on drums and Thiokho Diagne on percussion. The trumpeter Roy Hargove makes a memorable appearance on “Samba Pa Ti.”
OYO has already garnered glowing praise overseas. Clive Davis of London’s Sunday Times says, “The Beninese singer’s celebration of her musical roots turns out to be a magnificently upbeat marriage of African tradition and western pop.” In a major feature, The Financial Times says, “No one has followed in [Miriam] Makeba’s footsteps more convincingly than Kidjo.” Metro UK proclaims Kidjo to be “brilliant at shaking up expectations” and lauds her “joyously powerful” vocals.