Listening to Angélique Kidjo's forthcoming album, Dijn Dijn (Razor & Tie), is like attending a crash course in World Music 101. Her 11th full-length, scheduled for a May 1 release, is filled with familiar Western classical-inspired formulas poppy hooks, radio-friendly durations, and a star-studded list of guest musicians from Alicia Keys and Joss Stone to Peter Gabriel and Ziggy Marley and furnishes a perfect intro for skittish fans thirsting to delve into the intimidating world of (gasp!) music sung in a foreign tongue. The Benin-born and Paris-based singer/songwriter chooses a supple blend of English, French, Yoruba, and the Niger-Congo specific Fon to sing songs about personal victories and heartache, all backed by groove-oriented Afro-pop beats and jazzy arrangements. And though the commercial approach may turn off followers of more "African-sounding" artists like Salif Keita or the late Fela Kuti, Kidjo can still teach listeners a thing or two with an authentically soulful and easily digestible sound.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.