Kidjo is from the West African country of Benin, and often experiments with different cultural forms, which she does on this track. She explained in I Got Thunder: Black Women Songwriters and Their Craft
by LaShonda Barnett, "'Bissimilai' is composed in the Puerto Rican plena form, but I sing it in Fon and have backup by a chorus of Muslim women who I recorded on a trip home to Benin. In the chorus you hear the similarity between traditional Zilin music and gospel music. By bringing all of these forms together, I want to make people feel united."