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Angelique Kidjo

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  • Born: Ouidah, Benin
  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s
  • Website: kidjo.com
  • Recent Activity: 09.27.16 RT @RCI_speakers: Some great pictures of @angeliquekidjo at the opening of the @NMAAHC! https://t.co/xYrpgPKQkS
  • Angelique Kidjo

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Afro-funk, reggae, samba, salsa, gospel, jazz, Zairean rhumba, zouk, and makossa are combined through the music of soulful Benin-born, Paris-based vocalist Angélique Kidjo. Since the release of her self-produced debut solo album, Pretty, in 1988, Kidjo has been embraced by the international press. Her albums have been strengthened by contributions from top-notch guest musicians and producers. Parakou, her first internationally distributed album, featured jazz keyboardist Jasper van't Hof, the leader of Pili Pili, a Holland-based Afro-jazz band with whom Kidjo had performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1987. Logozo, recorded in Miami in 1991 and produced by Joe Galdo of Miami Sound Machine, featured Branford Marsalis on saxophone. Marsalis later performed on Kidjo's album Oremi. The album features Kidjo singing duets with Cassandra Wilson ("Never Know") and Kelly Price ("Open Your Eyes"). Kidjo's most ambitious album, Fifa (1996), featured more than 100 percussionists, flutists, cowbell and berimbau players, singers, and dancers from Benin and one track featuring Carlos Santana. Kidjo's husband, Jean Hébrail, a French bass player and composer she met in 1987, has played a major role in the recording of her albums.

The daughter of an actress, dancer, and theatrical producer, Kidjo was born in Quidah, a coastal city in the West African country of Benin. Inheriting her mother's love of performing, she made her stage debut with her mother's theatrical troupe. Inspired by the rock, pop, and soul music of Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Miriam Makeba, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin, she was singing professionally by her 20th birthday. Although she recorded an album, Pretty (produced by Cameroon-based vocalist Ekambi Brilliant), that yielded a hit single, "Ninive," the oppressive political environment of Benin led her to relocate to Paris in 1980. Although modern technology and electronics played an important role in the recording of her first four albums, Kidjo returned to her traditional roots with Fifa. Armed with eight-track tape recorders and microphones, Kidjo and a team of engineers traveled to Benin to record traditional musicians, singers, and dancers. The album was completed during recording sessions in Paris, London, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. With her next album, 1998's Oremi, Kidjo returned to her futuristic approach. Incorporating elements of hip-hop and Afro-Celtic grooves, Oremi featured a reconstructed interpretation of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)."

Kidjo's enthusiastic presence was evident on the video of her international hit "Agolo," from her album Aye (1994). Produced by Will Mowatt of Soul II Soul and longtime Prince collaborator David Z, the video was nominated for a Grammy Award. Kidjo's songs have been featured on the soundtracks of such films as My Favorite Season, Street Fighter, and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. As the new millennium got underway, Kidjo signed to Columbia and prepped for her major-label debut. Exploring musical elements of her native Benin to that of northeastern Brazil, Black Ivory Soul was released in 2002. Oyaya!, which featured a collaboration with Dave Matthews, was issued two years later. Kidjo then joined forces with Razor & Tie for the May 2007 release of Djin Djin. A second Razor & Tie album, Õÿö, followed in 2010 and featured guest spots from Roy Hargrove, John Legend, and Dianne Reeves. Spirit Rising, a CD and DVD representation of an uplifting live special Kidjo taped at WGBH studios, appeared from Razor & Tie in 2012. The album Eve, her tribute to the women of Africa, was issued in early 2014.

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Tour Dates All Dates Dates In My Area

Date Venue Location Tickets
11.29.16 Kaufleuten Zurich, ZH Switzerland
12.10.16 Sonoma State University Rohnert Park, CA US
05.05.17 Carnegie Hall - Stern Auditorium New York, NY US

eMusic Features

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Interview: Angelique Kidjo

By Richard Gehr, Contributor

Africa couldn't have found a more tireless and powerfully-voiced advocate than Angélique Kidjo, an onstage powerhouse whose fortifying new album Eve celebrates motherhood, daughterhood and sisterhood from the Garden of Eden to the present. Kidjo gets even more specific in her recent autobiography, Spirit Rising: My Life and Music, which recounts her exile from and return to her native Benin. Music and biology entwine throughout the memoir; one chapter describes the birth of her daughter… more »

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The Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo de Cotonou

By Richard Gehr, Contributor

It took more than six years and three crate diggers par excellence for T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou's brilliant, yet virtually forgotten, Benin brand of Afro funk to reach a roiling boil for a new generation of listeners. German collector Günter Gretz sampled three of the group's 50 to 100 albums (depending on who's counting) for his 1973 Reminiscin 'in Tempo compilation. The following year, Miles Cleret's Soundway label released The Kings of Benin Urban Groove… more »

Activity

  • 09.27.16 RT @RCI_speakers: Some great pictures of @angeliquekidjo at the opening of the @NMAAHC! https://t.co/xYrpgPKQkS
  • 09.26.16 Angélique Kidjo convoque l’âme de Miriam Makeba sur le nouveau musée afro-américain https://t.co/wZxSq9b7cz https://t.co/R5E06Qlwv3
  • 09.25.16 RT @AfricanaCarr: Angelique Kidjo, with Miriam Makeba's torch firmly in hand, leads the @NMAAHC crowd in "Mama Africa" #APeoplesJourney htt…
  • 09.24.16 Unforgettable dedication of the @NMAAHC today with @ImAngelaBassett David Oyelowo @Lupita_Nyongo @SamuelLJackson Av… https://t.co/d1Txawy8hr
  • 09.24.16 RT @suzieshortkake: 6 yr old niece on tablet. I turn on TV. Pays no mind. Turn to @acltv. @angeliquekidjo on. Tablet lowers. Staring. Gazin…
  • 09.23.16 RT @StephDujarric: The amazing @angeliquekidjo rocks at the @OIFfrancophonie #UNGA party. https://t.co/IoYYf7Y5kU
  • 09.23.16 RT @franceonu: .@angeliquekidjo enflamme la soirée de la #francophonie à New York! https://t.co/Q38VE0rmJs
  • 09.21.16 RT @GirlsNotBrides: “If I had been married by the age of 9/10, I would not have been where I am today” @AngeliqueKidjo #ItTakesAMovement #E…
  • 09.21.16 RT @UNICEF: My wish for child #refugees & migrants. I stand with UNICEF at #UNGA #childrenfirst - @AngeliqueKidjo https://t.co/fj3LoW37lf
  • 09.20.16 RT @KossiModeste: 1 super moment gag dans 1 ascenseur avec @angeliquekidjo chez @Vlisco au gala des #vlisco170years Thx @bamouzou 😂❤😂 https…
  • 09.20.16 RT @SmithsonianFolk: Did you know? #FreedomSounds finale on Sunday evening is @angeliquekidjo! https://t.co/f4pmHNaSWX @NMAAHC https://t.co…
  • 09.15.16 RT @ClaudiaTagbo: Avec 2 grands Artistes @angeliquekidjo @fallyipupa01 pour ces moments partagés!! @incroyable_talent_afrique... https://t.…