The veteran Benin singer emerges as leader of a new generation of African musicians in this joyful blend of new and old sounds
With a booming population that is overwhelmingly young, it’s only a matter of time before west Africa produces a global pop star as universally renowned as Beyoncé or Prince. When that happens, she or he will owe a big debt to Benin’s Angélique Kidjo who, now aged 60, has been a trailblazer for the continent over the course of 14 albums.
Kidjo has always been about inclusivity, whether in her pan-African songs, or with numerous collaborators, who include Philip Glass and Indonesia’s Anggun, or in her past two albums – her reworking of Talking Heads’ Remain in Light in 2018 and 2019’s Celia, a tribute to the late salsa diva Celia Cruz. On Mother Nature she returns home, collaborating with an array of young voices on an exuberant album couched in contemporary R&B and hip-hop, but laced with traditional flavours.