Angelique Kidjo

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At a Glance

Birthname: Ang
Nationality: Beninese
Born: Jul 14 1960


Biography

In an expansive career marked as much by extraordinary musical achievement as passionate advocacy for her homeland of Africa, Angelique Kidjo has found many ways to celebrate the rich, enlightening truth about the continent’s women beyond the media spotlight.
On Eve, her highly anticipated Savoy Records debut named for her own mother as well as the mythical “mother of all living,” the Beninese born, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter builds on this ever-evolving legacy with a 13-track, three interlude set of melodically rich, rhythmically powerful expressions of female empowerment. These ... Read more

In an expansive career marked as much by extraordinary musical achievement as passionate advocacy for her homeland of Africa, Angelique Kidjo has found many ways to celebrate the rich, enlightening truth about the continent’s women beyond the media spotlight.
On Eve, her highly anticipated Savoy Records debut named for her own mother as well as the mythical “mother of all living,” the Beninese born, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter builds on this ever-evolving legacy with a 13-track, three interlude set of melodically rich, rhythmically powerful expressions of female empowerment. These songs become all the more intimate and emotionally urgent with Kidjo’s dynamic collaborations with traditional women’s choirs from Kenya and various cities and villages in Benin. The singer and her newfound native lady friends sing in a wide array of native Beninese languages, including Fon (Kidjo’s first language), Yoruba, Goun, and Mina.

“Eve is an album of remembrance of African women I grew up with and a testament to the pride and strength that hide behind the smile that masks everyday troubles,” says Kidjo, whose accolades include a 20 year discography, thousands of concerts around the world and being named “Africa’s premier diva” (Time Magazine) and “the undisputed Queen of African Music” (Daily Telegraph). “They exuded a positivity and grace in a time of hardship. On this recording I am letting the voices of the women show their beauty to the world,” she adds. “Eve is all about showcasing the positivity they bring to their villages, cities, culture and the world.”
Kidjo, whose star-studded 2008 recording Djin Djin won a Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album and whose last studio recording Oyo was nominated in the same category, has enjoyed a long history of crossover collaborations with greats from the jazz and pop worlds—including Carlos Santana, Josh Groban, Peter Gabriel, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove and Alicia Keys.
In August 2012, Angelique traveled to Kenya with UNICEF and CNN to film a documentary on acute malnutrition from 0 to 2 years that irreversibly affects the future mental and physical development of many children. The singer visited the Samburu region in the North of Kenya. When she entered the small village of Merti, she met with a group of women who were part of a community center advocating for better nutrition. They welcomed her with a beautiful chant that she recorded on her Iphone. Kidjo was so inspired by the passion and strength of their voices that she created “M’Baamba” (which became the opening track on Eve) around the magical sample of their voices.
Kidjo then travelled to Benin, from South to North and back, armed with a six track field recorder, to capture the sweet rhythmic harmonies and chants of the traditional women choirs. She sojourned everywhere from Cotonou (Kidjo’s hometown) and Ouidah (her father's village) to Porto Novo, Godomey (her mom's village) and Manigri, a village from the North with amazing polyphonies.
With the contribution of the Beninese percussionists from the Gangbe Brass Band, Kidjo laid the musical foundation of the album in New York with an ensemble of top session musicians--guitarist (and fellow Benin native) Lionel Loueke, drummer Steve Jordan, bass great Christian McBride—under the guidance of producer Patrick Dillett, a longtime collaborator of David Byrne whose credits include They Might Be Giants and Fatboy Slim.

Helping the singer fulfill her vision on Eve are a host of exciting prominent newcomers to her musical circle, including guitarist and keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend (who appears on “Bomba” and “Hello”); Nigerian Folk singer ASA on “Eva”; legendary pianist Dr. John, who adds his New Orleans magic to “Kulumbu”; The Kronos Quartet, bringing their classical flair to the simple choir and percussion arrangement of “Ebile”; and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, heightening the dramatic impact of the folk influenced “Awalole,” a piece about the young generation of women who will one day become the future leaders of the continent. The traditional Congolese song “Bana” features the soulful, weathered vocals of a Kidjo’s mother Yvonne, the mother of ten children who put the singer on stage for the first time at age six. The singer is releasing Eve in conjunction with the release of Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, an autobiography published by Harper Collins. The telling of Kidjo’s dramatic rise ties in perfectly with the female empowerment themes that make Eve an epic achievement in her career.

“Eve is dedicated to the women of Africa, to their resilience and their beauty,” says Kidjo. “These women have so little materially yet when they smile, it’s as though they have jumped to the moon and are swinging from it. As long as we are strong, we will move forward with dignity.” As Kidjo sings on “Kulumbu,” “Let’s learn to worship love and friendship. Let’s fall in love with love again!”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

In an expansive career marked as much by extraordinary musical achievement as passionate advocacy for her homeland of Africa, Angelique Kidjo has found many ways to celebrate the rich, enlightening truth about the continent’s women beyond the media spotlight.
On Eve, her highly anticipated Savoy Records debut named for her own mother as well as the mythical “mother of all living,” the Beninese born, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter builds on this ever-evolving legacy with a 13-track, three interlude set of melodically rich, rhythmically powerful expressions of female empowerment. These songs become all the more intimate and emotionally urgent with Kidjo’s dynamic collaborations with traditional women’s choirs from Kenya and various cities and villages in Benin. The singer and her newfound native lady friends sing in a wide array of native Beninese languages, including Fon (Kidjo’s first language), Yoruba, Goun, and Mina.

“Eve is an album of remembrance of African women I grew up with and a testament to the pride and strength that hide behind the smile that masks everyday troubles,” says Kidjo, whose accolades include a 20 year discography, thousands of concerts around the world and being named “Africa’s premier diva” (Time Magazine) and “the undisputed Queen of African Music” (Daily Telegraph). “They exuded a positivity and grace in a time of hardship. On this recording I am letting the voices of the women show their beauty to the world,” she adds. “Eve is all about showcasing the positivity they bring to their villages, cities, culture and the world.”
Kidjo, whose star-studded 2008 recording Djin Djin won a Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album and whose last studio recording Oyo was nominated in the same category, has enjoyed a long history of crossover collaborations with greats from the jazz and pop worlds—including Carlos Santana, Josh Groban, Peter Gabriel, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove and Alicia Keys.
In August 2012, Angelique traveled to Kenya with UNICEF and CNN to film a documentary on acute malnutrition from 0 to 2 years that irreversibly affects the future mental and physical development of many children. The singer visited the Samburu region in the North of Kenya. When she entered the small village of Merti, she met with a group of women who were part of a community center advocating for better nutrition. They welcomed her with a beautiful chant that she recorded on her Iphone. Kidjo was so inspired by the passion and strength of their voices that she created “M’Baamba” (which became the opening track on Eve) around the magical sample of their voices.
Kidjo then travelled to Benin, from South to North and back, armed with a six track field recorder, to capture the sweet rhythmic harmonies and chants of the traditional women choirs. She sojourned everywhere from Cotonou (Kidjo’s hometown) and Ouidah (her father's village) to Porto Novo, Godomey (her mom's village) and Manigri, a village from the North with amazing polyphonies.
With the contribution of the Beninese percussionists from the Gangbe Brass Band, Kidjo laid the musical foundation of the album in New York with an ensemble of top session musicians--guitarist (and fellow Benin native) Lionel Loueke, drummer Steve Jordan, bass great Christian McBride—under the guidance of producer Patrick Dillett, a longtime collaborator of David Byrne whose credits include They Might Be Giants and Fatboy Slim.

Helping the singer fulfill her vision on Eve are a host of exciting prominent newcomers to her musical circle, including guitarist and keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend (who appears on “Bomba” and “Hello”); Nigerian Folk singer ASA on “Eva”; legendary pianist Dr. John, who adds his New Orleans magic to “Kulumbu”; The Kronos Quartet, bringing their classical flair to the simple choir and percussion arrangement of “Ebile”; and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, heightening the dramatic impact of the folk influenced “Awalole,” a piece about the young generation of women who will one day become the future leaders of the continent. The traditional Congolese song “Bana” features the soulful, weathered vocals of a Kidjo’s mother Yvonne, the mother of ten children who put the singer on stage for the first time at age six. The singer is releasing Eve in conjunction with the release of Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, an autobiography published by Harper Collins. The telling of Kidjo’s dramatic rise ties in perfectly with the female empowerment themes that make Eve an epic achievement in her career.

“Eve is dedicated to the women of Africa, to their resilience and their beauty,” says Kidjo. “These women have so little materially yet when they smile, it’s as though they have jumped to the moon and are swinging from it. As long as we are strong, we will move forward with dignity.” As Kidjo sings on “Kulumbu,” “Let’s learn to worship love and friendship. Let’s fall in love with love again!”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

In an expansive career marked as much by extraordinary musical achievement as passionate advocacy for her homeland of Africa, Angelique Kidjo has found many ways to celebrate the rich, enlightening truth about the continent’s women beyond the media spotlight.
On Eve, her highly anticipated Savoy Records debut named for her own mother as well as the mythical “mother of all living,” the Beninese born, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter builds on this ever-evolving legacy with a 13-track, three interlude set of melodically rich, rhythmically powerful expressions of female empowerment. These songs become all the more intimate and emotionally urgent with Kidjo’s dynamic collaborations with traditional women’s choirs from Kenya and various cities and villages in Benin. The singer and her newfound native lady friends sing in a wide array of native Beninese languages, including Fon (Kidjo’s first language), Yoruba, Goun, and Mina.

“Eve is an album of remembrance of African women I grew up with and a testament to the pride and strength that hide behind the smile that masks everyday troubles,” says Kidjo, whose accolades include a 20 year discography, thousands of concerts around the world and being named “Africa’s premier diva” (Time Magazine) and “the undisputed Queen of African Music” (Daily Telegraph). “They exuded a positivity and grace in a time of hardship. On this recording I am letting the voices of the women show their beauty to the world,” she adds. “Eve is all about showcasing the positivity they bring to their villages, cities, culture and the world.”
Kidjo, whose star-studded 2008 recording Djin Djin won a Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album and whose last studio recording Oyo was nominated in the same category, has enjoyed a long history of crossover collaborations with greats from the jazz and pop worlds—including Carlos Santana, Josh Groban, Peter Gabriel, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove and Alicia Keys.
In August 2012, Angelique traveled to Kenya with UNICEF and CNN to film a documentary on acute malnutrition from 0 to 2 years that irreversibly affects the future mental and physical development of many children. The singer visited the Samburu region in the North of Kenya. When she entered the small village of Merti, she met with a group of women who were part of a community center advocating for better nutrition. They welcomed her with a beautiful chant that she recorded on her Iphone. Kidjo was so inspired by the passion and strength of their voices that she created “M’Baamba” (which became the opening track on Eve) around the magical sample of their voices.
Kidjo then travelled to Benin, from South to North and back, armed with a six track field recorder, to capture the sweet rhythmic harmonies and chants of the traditional women choirs. She sojourned everywhere from Cotonou (Kidjo’s hometown) and Ouidah (her father's village) to Porto Novo, Godomey (her mom's village) and Manigri, a village from the North with amazing polyphonies.
With the contribution of the Beninese percussionists from the Gangbe Brass Band, Kidjo laid the musical foundation of the album in New York with an ensemble of top session musicians--guitarist (and fellow Benin native) Lionel Loueke, drummer Steve Jordan, bass great Christian McBride—under the guidance of producer Patrick Dillett, a longtime collaborator of David Byrne whose credits include They Might Be Giants and Fatboy Slim.

Helping the singer fulfill her vision on Eve are a host of exciting prominent newcomers to her musical circle, including guitarist and keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend (who appears on “Bomba” and “Hello”); Nigerian Folk singer ASA on “Eva”; legendary pianist Dr. John, who adds his New Orleans magic to “Kulumbu”; The Kronos Quartet, bringing their classical flair to the simple choir and percussion arrangement of “Ebile”; and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, heightening the dramatic impact of the folk influenced “Awalole,” a piece about the young generation of women who will one day become the future leaders of the continent. The traditional Congolese song “Bana” features the soulful, weathered vocals of a Kidjo’s mother Yvonne, the mother of ten children who put the singer on stage for the first time at age six. The singer is releasing Eve in conjunction with the release of Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music, an autobiography published by Harper Collins. The telling of Kidjo’s dramatic rise ties in perfectly with the female empowerment themes that make Eve an epic achievement in her career.

“Eve is dedicated to the women of Africa, to their resilience and their beauty,” says Kidjo. “These women have so little materially yet when they smile, it’s as though they have jumped to the moon and are swinging from it. As long as we are strong, we will move forward with dignity.” As Kidjo sings on “Kulumbu,” “Let’s learn to worship love and friendship. Let’s fall in love with love again!”

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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