Nigerian singer Bola Abimbola has a long solo career under his belt, but he's best known to American audiences for his occasional work with King Sunny Ade. Abimbola's first album for the nascent American label Fast Horse sounds like an attempt to Westernize his Afrobeat sound for more mainstream tastes, adding producer Sean Dugaw's drum kit and a few more synthesizers to a mix that needed little embellishment in the first place. Luckily, the emendations are relatively minor, so they're only distracting to real Nigerian music purists. For everyone else, Ara Kenge is an appealing mix of Abimbola's clear, soulful vocals and relaxed, unhurried African pop beats, highlighted by the hypnotic elongated rhythm workout "Orin."
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason