Album of the day: Angelique Kidjo, "Logozo"

Album of the day: Angelique Kidjo, “Logozo”

Angelique Kidjo
Logozo (Cd Mango/Island 162-539918-2)

Better to clear the field of misunderstandings: although Angelique Kidjo is one of the most successful African singers of recent years, this album has very little to do with music that is traditionally defined as African.
Instead we find ourselves faced with an excellent pop/dance album, where the typical influences of genres such as Zouk and Soukous are mixed with Caribbean suggestions and funk passages inspired by groups such as Soul II Soul and Incognito.

Although the lyrics often talk about catastrophes such as poverty and exploitation in Africa, describing dramatic situations, the musical atmosphere of the album always remains very cheerful and danceable, with the exception of the sweet “Malaïka”, with acoustic instrumentation.
(certainly the best song on the album, someone may remember it from the soundtrack of the film “Caro diario” by Nanni Moretti).

It is not clear to what extent this choice, aimed mainly at the world of discos and the charts, is the work of the artist or the record company (and in subsequent albums this will be even more accentuated), in any case “Logozo” (second album released in the West by the Benin artist) is a quality album that allows us to appreciate the excellent vocal skills of Angelique, who in addition to being the author of a large part of her own repertoire, together with her husband Jean Hebrail, is a complete artist who gives her best of himself on stage in concerts that manage to drag and involve audiences of all latitudes with powerful vocal performances that contrast with his small appearance.

Percussion instruments from the Congolese tradition mix with electronic drums, electric guitars, keyboards, wind sections and synthesizers to create a tasty mix of different influences which, in addition to keeping you in a good mood, can be considered perfect for celebrating the Summer Solstice today and the The arrival of the beautiful season (it’s about time!)

Songs like “Batonga”, “Tchè-tchè”, “Ewa ka djo”, “Ekolèya”, “Ewa Kadjo” are extremely pleasant, rhythmic and catchy; some songs feature the participation of illustrious guests such as Manu Dibango, Ray Lema and Branford Marsalis but the center of attention throughout the album remains Angelique’s serpentine and sharp voice, which is not intimidated by the intricate polyrhythms of the arrangements, showing off a determination first rate.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.