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Angelique Kidjo & Friends: Spirit Rising (2011)

TV Movie  -  Music  -  2011 (USA)
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A force of nature sings Afropop
10 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'd known about Angelique Kidjo for years, having been introduced to her music by a former boyfriend. Her sound is truly a beautiful thing to share with someone you love -- it's romantic AND energizing.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the artist behind the sound in this get-you-dancing concert film shown in NYC during public TV's fund-raising campaign.

When was the last time you saw someone in concert who genuinely seemed to relish her job? Ms. Kidjo's like that. She sings with all of her body and soul, and seems to take as much joy in improvising dance moves as in projecting her formidable voice.

She performs a number of duets but the ones I liked best were with Diana Reeves, whom she calls her "American sister," Josh Groban, and Wynton Marsalis (with whom she performed a hypnotic riff on Ravel's "Bolero").

Here is an opportunity to hear "Summertime," the "Porgy and Bess" tune, sung in an African language. Other songs, some in English, are equally moving: "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery...None but ourselves can free our mind!"

While the Benin-born Ms. Kidjo no longer lives in Africa, her native continent preoccupies her. "If we don't see the beauty of Africa, how can we see the beauty of humanity?" she asks during a station break. "Africa is the cradle of humanity."

More people should know about this life-affirming artist. I just hope she never loses that enthusiasm. Brava!!!!!!


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