For some reason, I took out the CD and brought it home. As soon as I put it in my player, I was blown away by an amazing kaleidescope of rhythms and melody, all sung in Benin, the language of Quidah, the city in West Africa where Kidjo was born. The songs were catchy and filled with incredible energy and artistry.
I listened to the CD and returned it to the library. My next stop was the music store, where I bought my own copy. A few years later I went to one of her concerts in Princeton, where she played to an extremely enthusiastic crowd: a tiny dynamo, insisting that everyone in attendance stand up and dance, and inviting the audience up on stage to "Give me some hug."
I've listened to Agolo so many times that I can sing it in Benin. Her songs, in fact, were the inspiration for my Night Watchman trilogy. I used her words as a basis for the language of Lampala, my fictional island country in the second book of the trilogy. Angelique herself inspired Mana, my beautiful governess from the islands, who is mysterious and strong and a bit magical.
I must add here how courageous Kidjo has been to sing at all. Being a singer was seen as a not very respectable thing in her country; when she clashed with the communist regime there she had to flee to Paris.
If you haven't heard of Angelique before, take a minute to listen to her song, Adouma: