Since Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo won the Grammy in the World Music category on Sunday, the question on the lips of millennials has been, who is Angélique Kidjo? Some genuinely want to know, while others may well just be plain mischievous as their posts on social media indicate.
Nominated alongside our very own Burna Boy, Kidjo, while accepting her award dedicated it to the Nigerian singer and self-professed African giant.
Kidjo is winning the award for the fourth time.
The BBC quoted Kidjo as saying that Burna Boy is among the new set of the continent’s young artistes that is changing Africa.
“Four years ago on this stage, I was telling you that the new generation of artistes coming from Africa are going to take you by storm. And the time has come,” she said, going on to dedicate her award to Burna Boy.
“Burna Boy is among those young artistes that come from Africa that is changing the way our continent is perceived and the way African music has been the bedrock of every music.”
What humility from a legend, who is not only an activist and actress, but is also fluent in the five languages of Fon, French, Yorùbá, Gen and English.
Born Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo on July 14, 1960, she has been consistently a singer-songwriter since 1982 when her musical career started. For her effort, she has been nominated 10 times for the Grammy and has won several awards in Africa and beyond.
Famed for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos, she has been described by Time magazine as “Africa’s premier diva”.
Married to Jean Hébrail with whom she has children since 1987, her musical career encompasses the Afropop, Afrobeat, reggae, world music, world fusion, world beat, jazz and gospel genres.
She has been signed unto the Island, Mango, PolyGram, Columbia, Razor & Tie 429 Records.
Kidjo, whose website is kidjo.com has collaborated with Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews Band, Kelly Price, Alicia Keys, Branford Marsalis, Ziggy Marley, Philip Glass, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Carlos Santana, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Josh Groban, Dr John, the Kronos Quartet, Yemi Alade, Cassandra Wilson and Indonesia’s pop star Anggun.
Kidjo, who often uses Benin’s traditional Zilin vocal technique and vocalese has hit songs that include “Agolo”, “We We”, “Adouma”, “Wombo Lombo”, “Afirika”, “Batonga”, and her version of “Malaika”.
Her album Logozo is ranked number 37 in the Greatest Dance Albums of All Time list compiled by Vice magazine’s Thump website.
She starred in Kunle Afolayan 2016 film, The CEO.