Music Review: Black Ivory Soul

Called Africa’s premier diva, Angélique Kidjo is a Grammy-winning Beninese singer with roots in music as wide-ranging as traditional African, Caribbean, and Latin styles, Afropop, Jazz, and more. Her 2002 album Black Ivory Soul is part of a trilogy of albums in which she explored the musical styles of the Americas and their African roots; in this case, the music of Brazil. The album leads off with “Bahia,” a slow and soulful introduction that quickly turns to Afro-Brazilian dance rhythms. “Iwoya” brings in Dave Matthews for English-language guest vocals, and subsequent tracks such as “Olofoofo” and “Ominira” dwell solidly in the world of Latin-American melodies and Spanish guitar. “Tumba” is another fast-moving track guaranteed to get you dancing with more modern sounds, and the title track “Black Ivory Soul” offers a funkier rhythm and a sing-along chorus. “Refavela” leans into call-and-response vocals, while “Iemanja” is more contemplative with string accompaniment. The album finishes on a cover of the classic French pop song “Ces Petits Riens,” bringing in a new style but meshing it with the vocal and guitar soulfulness that characterizes the entire album. Black Ivory Soul will take you on a world tour you won’t forget.

Black Ivory Soul on Freegal

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