Angélique Kidjo vs. Talking Heads

Having been somewhat overwhelmed by submissions (just for a change), I am really glad not to have missed out on this.


Angélique Kidjo, the acclaimed singer from Benin, will shortly release her take on the Talking Heads’ seminal 1980 album, Remain In Light. Produced by Brian Eno, the album drew on West African sounds, and featured ‘Once In A Lifetime,’ which would become the band’s first hit in the UK, helped by an innovative video.

Angélique worked with 2015 Grammy Producer of the Year Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Rolling Stones, Beyonce) for her version of ‘Remain in Light,’ which brings the landmark 1980 album by Talking Heads full circle, back to the sounds of West Africa that inspired the original.  It features appearances by Ezra Koenig, Blood Orange, Tony Allen, Antibalas Horns, Angélique’s longtime guitarist Dominic James, and Magatte Sow (percussionist for the Black Panther film score). Visual artist Kerry James Marshall collaborated on the album artwork.

On her own version of the “Once In A Lifetime” video, Angelique said: ” In the 1970s, under the dictatorship in my home country of Benin, it was really difficult to find music to listen to from the rest of the world. When I went into exile in Paris in 1983, I discovered so much new music, and among them was the song “Once In A Lifetime”. Initially, it felt strange to me. People said it was Rock and Roll, but it felt African somehow. When I performed in New York in 1992 at SOB’s, David Byrne was the first American artist to come see my show. Many years later, I discovered that Brian Eno and The Talking Heads had been influenced by Fela Kuti and studied John Miller Chernoff’s book African Rhythm and African Sensibility about the power of African music. “Once In A Lifetime” was released at the start of the Reagan presidency, and you feel the anguish and anger in its lyrics. I feel the same tension in today’s political climate. Bringing “Once In A Lifetime” back to the African continent, with the help of superstar producer Jeff Bhasker, Black Panther’s percussionist Magatte Sow and guitarist Dominic James, feels so right today.”

Angelique’s version of the album is released on June 8. You can see the video for her version of ‘Once In A Lifetime’ below. It was directed by 25 year old Antoine Paley, a student at Luc Besson’s Cité Du Cinema film school.


…and as a bonus, the video for ‘Born Under Punches’

Album Review: David Byrne & St. Vincent


David Byrne & St. Vincent ‘Love This Giant.’ (4AD)

If it surprises you that David Byrne and St. Vincent have collaborated on an album together, then it shouldn’t. Both of them, after all, have demonstrated (in the case of Byrne over thirty-five years!) that they are both capable of writing pop songs, whilst also having an urge to experiment and produce something new.

And they’ve managed to do that on Love This Giant. There’s what the press release -very accurately -describes an an ‘explosive brass band’ which provides the backing for much of the album, along with a drum machine. The result is that it seems like a very funky jazz sort of backing, not in a musically self-indulgent way, either…in a way that seems to be unmistakeably the two protagonists.

This is definitely an album born out of leftfield, and it won’t appeal to those simply expecting numbers in the vein of ‘Actor Out Of Work’ or ‘And She Was.’ But if you’ve heard ‘Who,’ the album’s opening track, it gives an idea of what the album’s spirit is like. You may not find you love this album…but it’s sure as heck worth spending some time with.

Love This Giant is out now on 4AD.

Presenting…David Byrne & St. Vincent


David Byrne and St. Vincent will release their collaborative album Love This Giant on September 10.

Two years in the making, they don’t appear to be touring it in the UK just yet (just the US and Canada). The tracklisting for the album is as follows:

1. “Who”
2. “Weekend in the Dust”
3. “Dinner For Two”
4. “Ice Age”
5. “I Am An Ape”
6. “The Forest Awakes”
7. “I Should Watch TV”
8. “Lazarus”
9. “Optimist”
10. “Lightning”
11. “The One Who Broke Your Heart” (ft. The Dap-Kings and Antibalas)
12. “Outside of Space & Time”

You can download the album’s opening track ‘Why’ below:

To stream ‘Weekend In The Dust’ follow this link