Redemption Song

BERTRAND DESPREZ / AGENCE VU FOR TIME

GRAND GESTURE: Kidjo's latest album fuses many languages and styles

A year ago, at a concert in Harare, Zimbabwe, Angélique Kidjo broke off in midperformance, walked to the front of the stage and declared: "I can't understand someone who is burning his own country and abducting his own people. Not being able to take care of your own people, becoming the worst nightmare, doesn't make you a leader. It makes you a monster. If you live by violence, you die by violence." The crowd was stunned. Berating Robert Mugabe, the 83-year-old autocrat who has overseen his country's implosion, was an invitation to be deported, jailed, even killed. Agents from...