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Angélique Kidjo & Ibrahim Maalouf on ‘Queen of Sheba’   

At this weekend’s Grammy Awards, one of the nominees for Best Global Music is ‘Queen of Sheba,’ a 7-years-in-the-making collaboration between artists Angélique Kidjo and Ibrahim Maalouf. Intrigued by drawing a connection between the musical traditions of Africa and the Middle East, Kidjo (Beninese) and Maalouf (Lebanese) settled on a starting premise of the riddles relayed by Queen Sheba to King Solomon. As expected of an alliance between two virtuosos, the album is a product of love and intentionality. While the lyrical direction was provided by Angélique, its robust interpretation of a symphony orchestra was the idea of Ibrahim, whose richly layered trumpeting has recreated the conventions of Jazz.