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Song of the Week: Shekere by Yemi Alade ft Angelique Kidjo

Shekere is a song by Yemi Alade and Angelique Kidjo. I grew up listening to Angelique Kidjo, and remember watching her colorful and energetic videos on TV. For those who knew her at her peak, Angelique Kidjo was an unforgettable force. She was like a combination of thunder, lightning and wind. Calm and soothing one moment, then striking and leaping in the next. I remember standing in the living room, a little girl, struggling to imitate the dance moves.

Shekere is a song that pays homage to one of Angelique Kidjo’s most iconic songs, Wombo Lombo. In a recent interview with Ndani TV, Yemi Alade talked briefly about her intimate relationship with Kidjo and shared a few details about how Kidjo reached out to her asking her to remix the song Wombo Lombo. Yemi said:

“One day she hit me up and was like, ‘Yemi I want you to remix my song, Wombo Lombo.’ I was like, me?!”

Many of Angelique Kidjo’s songs have been sampled and remixed. Wombo Lombo in particular was sampled by Burna Boy in a song he called Wombo Lombo Something back in 2011, at the beginning of his career. But a part of what makes Shekere special is that this remix was requested by Angelique herself.

The bond Angelique and Yemi share is clear in the harmony of their voices, and in the flawlessly easy way Yemi is able to give this remix a vibrant new rhythm of her own. Yemi Alade is a master in African pop and hi-life, and she doesn’t fail to bring the infectious energy of those genres to this song. Angelique contributes generously to this energy with her own striking voice.

A blend of languages characterize Shekere. The two artists speak Pidgin English, French and Yoruba, while Alade also speaks Swahili and Kidjo, Fon and Zilin. Shekere is a smooth blend of Yemi and Angelique’s voices, combined with the strange but compelling sounds of these languages. Its unquestionably original.

Shekere is more than a remix of Wombo Lombo. It is a completely different song; a collaboration and a remake. Both Angelique and Yemi Alade bring all that they have to this song, but they leave plenty of room for each other. Shekere is the 9th song on Woman of Steel, Alade’s 4th studio album. The album was released by her label, Effyzie Music Group, on the 30th of August this year.




Who sampled

Featured image source: 2c Music Studio

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Tochi Onwubiko is a 'Jack' of many trades. A designer, book editor, lawyer and happy freelance writer. She enjoys drinking tea, sitting in quiet spaces, and reading thick books. She hopes to publish books one day. She also loves a good house party. If you know about any good books or parties, leave a comment on one of her posts.

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