The explosive growth in the popularity of world music during the past several decades has broadened the boundaries of our world, reminding listeners of the vast cultural wealth and diversity in this wired age. The music of African-born songstress Angélique Kidjo offers another perspective: that the world is also much smaller than we think, and that no matter how far flung its peoples may be, subtle lines of interconnection span the globe, uniting its people. This is reflected with her latest release, Oyaya!(which is the word for “joy” in Yoruba, Kidjo’s native language.)
Angelique Kidjo, whose work has garnered her three Grammy nominations, has cross-pollinated the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with a diverse group of international artists like Santana and Gilberto Gil. Her duet with Dave Matthews on the song Iwoya,, which appeared on her last record Black Ivory Soul, was a critical success that helped diversify her fan base.