Black Ivory Soul

Black Ivory Soul

“Bahia,” the lovely, lilting tune that opens Black Ivory Soul, is named for the Brazilian state that has a strong cultural connection to West Africa, an apt starting point for this album. Benin-born Angelique Kidjo celebrates the musical similarities between the two regions by combining samba beats, African rhythms and instruments, and her rich, powerful voice to produce a smooth and sophisticated set of songs. Ranging from the simmer of “Iemanja” and “Okan Bale” to the joyous and infectious “Afirika,” with its sing-along chorus and chiming guitar work, the songs are buoyed by lush harmonies and varied Latin and African percussion. In addition to the 10 songs co-written by Kidjo, she includes two covers: a sparkling version of Brazilian composer Gilberto Gil’s “Refavela,” which perfectly suits the feel of the album, and a tender take on Serge Gainsbourg’s ballad “Ces Petits Riens,” which abandons the album’s musical motif entirely but works nonetheless. In keeping with the trans-Atlantic theme, the album features a large cast of musicians from Africa, Europe, Brazil, and the U.S., including Bernie Worrell on organ and Ahmir “Questlove” Thomson of The Roots on drums.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada