In the continuum of African music, Angelique Kidjo is a decidedly non-traditional practitioner, and she wouldn't have it any other way. A synthesist of remarkable savvy, Kidjo brings together radio-friendly pop, soul-diva stylings, and contemporary club production with vocal motifs and rhythms fromher native Benin. AYE is a further step in the artist's efforts to blend these disparate elements.
Recorded half at Minneapolis's Paisley Park studios (with sessions produced by Prince collaborator David Z), they reflect the punchy guitar and synth-dominated Minneapolis sound. And half in London at Soul II Soul studios (with sessions produced by Soul II Soul's Will Mowat), with both a dance-soul flavor and nice horn backing and arrangements AYE's reflects the eclectic yet streamlined pop aesthetics of those respective camps. The album's single, "Agolo", leads off, and establishes the bright Afropop sound that dominates the rest of the disc. The harder-edged "Adouma" and the expansive, soaring "Djan-Djan" help mix things up, making AYE an adventurous listening experience.