Angelique Kidjo
Name of Album: Black Ivory Soul
Ratings: Personal - 5 General - 5
Release Date: March 19, 2002

Angelique Kidjo's new album, Black Ivory Soul, is wholly pleasant to listen to. There is absolutely no need to understand what she says to appreciate the harmony and overflowing beauty of her voice. Born in Benin, and based in Paris and Brooklyn, Angelique quite easily transcends borders with her music.

Her artistry quite simply is impressive. Singing in four languages on her newest album, (English, French and two African languages—Yoruba and Fon) she sounds brilliant in each. Certainly there have been songs in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese that make me want to learn the lyrics (if not at least a semblance of the phonetics so that I may lip sync along), but quite rarely am I compelled to do the same in a language which is totally foreign and incomprehensible to me. Angelique's music proves to be the exception, Ominira, track 10, being a perfect example of what I mean.

Each of the 11 songs proves to be quite unique and acoustically pleasant, unlike many pop albums which have a weak strain of similar sound strung throughout. This is a perfect album to play at your party on Friday night, during your bleary eyed clean-up on Saturday morning, as well as during your coffee and bagel brunch on Sunday.

Usually, when I review an album, I like to speak to each track, or a selection of them—but with Black Ivory Soul, I found that absolutely unnecessary. Each track holds up to a standard of excellence.

This album reminds me of another soulful "international" favorite of mine—Onda Sonora (Red Hot +Lisboa), which is also wonderfully diverse—swerving effortlessly through several genres of (Portuguese) traditional and contemporary music, just as Angelique similarly does on her newest album.

Let me add and end by stating that I swear I am not being paid to write this rave review, because that is what this is—a rave review. Each song makes you want to either sing along, dance, or just sit on the couch or better yet, lie outside on the grass, gazing up at the blue or the black with Kidjo massaging your ears.