Keep on Moving is a collection of the best of African diva Angelique Kidjo's previous releases. It features songs with a wide variety of influences including hip hop, reggae, funk and African beats. "Each one of them brings back memories from very different parts of my life", she reflects. Most of the songs are sung in the West African languages Fon and Yoruba but some are in English as well.
After moving to France in the early 1980's, she studied jazz vocals at Paris' CIMS jazz school. She has a beautiful, clear voice with a nice range. She gives a nod to her jazz influences with her pop version of the standard "Summertime". Most of her associations during her career, however, have been with pop and world fusion artists. Rock guitarist, Carlos Santana, is featured on the track "Naima".
Fans of music by worldbeat drummer Mickey Hart may really enjoy this album. The disc is full of interesting rhythms and some pretty melodies. However, most of it is also heavily processed like most pop music. Much of the instrumentation is synthetic and often bland. Especially on the tracks recorded at Prince's Paisley Park studio in Minneapolis, she produces a kind of African influenced club music.
As a tribute to her role model, Miriam Makeba, she sings the traditional Tanzanian chant "Malaika" meaning a good spirit or messenger in Ki-Swahili. "Music is not only emotion and groove," says Angelique, "it's something that speaks for a culture and it's people." Her contralto is wonderful with purely acoustic accompaniment. I wish there were more selections like this on the album.
Angelique Kidjo is a messenger with a wealth of musical interests and interesting rhythms. Keep on Moving is a survey of her work over the past decade. Targeted at her pop audience, it's a good introduction to her music for those interested in world fusion. She is currently on tour with the Dave Matthews Band.