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Angélique Kidjo

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Title: Angélique Kidjo  
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Subject: African immigration to the United States, Nobel Peace Prize Concert, 46664, Rock in Rio, Music of Benin
Collection: 1960 Births, 20Th-Century Musicians, 21St-Century Musicians, American People of Beninese Descent, American People of Yoruba Descent, Beninese Emigrants to the United States, Beninese Music, Beninese Musicians, English-Language Singers, Female Jazz Musicians, Fon People, French-Language Singers, Gospel Singers, Grammy Award Winners, Jazz Singers, Living People, People from Cotonou, Reggae Musicians, Unicef People, World Music Singers, Wrasse Records Artists, Yoruba Musicians, Yoruba-Language Singers
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Angélique Kidjo

Angélique Kidjo
Background information
Birth name Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo[1][2][3]
Born (1960-07-14) July 14, 1960
Cotonou, Benin
Genres Afropop, Afrobeat, reggae, world music, world fusion, worldbeat, jazz, gospel, Latin
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 1982–present
Labels Island, Mango, PolyGram, Columbia, Razor & Tie, 429 Records

Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo,[1][2][3] known as Angélique Kidjo (July 14, 1960), is a Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and activist from Benin, noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos. Time magazine has called her "Africa's premier diva".[4] The BBC has included Kidjo in its list of the African continent's 50 most iconic figures.[5] The Guardian has listed her as one of its Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World[6] and Kidjo is the first woman to be listed among "The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa" by Forbes magazine.[7] The Daily Telegraph in London described her as "The undisputed queen of African music" during the 2012 Olympic Games River of Music Festival.[8] In March 2013, NPR, National Public Radio in America, called her "Africa's greatest living diva".[9] Kidjo is listed among the "2014 Most Influential Africans" by New African magazine and Jeune Afrique.[10][11] Forbes Afrique put Angelique on the cover of their "100 most influential women" issue in 2015.[12] On June 6, 2013, Kidjo was elected vice-president of the Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d´Auteurs et Compositeurs (CISAC). She now resides in New York City,[13] where she is an occasional contributor to the New York Times.[14][15][16] Angelique has received Honorary Doctorates from Yale University, Berklee College of Music and Middlebury College.[17][18][19]

Her musical influences include the Summertime", Ravel's Boléro, Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" and the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter", and 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 and Cassandra Wilson. Kidjo's hit songs 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 the Thump web site.[20]

Kidjo is fluent in Fon, French, Yorùbá and English, and sings in all four languages; she also has her own personal language, which includes words that serve as song titles such as "Batonga". "Malaika" is a song sung in the Swahili language. Kidjo often utilizes Benin's traditional Zilin vocal technique and jazz vocalese.

Angelique is the recipient of the 2015 Crystal Award given by the [21]


  • Early life 1
  • Paris 2
  • Albums 3
    • Logozo 3.1
    • Ayé 3.2
    • Fifa 3.3
    • Trilogy 3.4
      • Oremi 3.4.1
      • Black Ivory Soul 3.4.2
      • Oyaya! 3.4.3
    • Djin Djin 3.5
    • Õÿö 3.6
    • Spirit Rising 3.7
    • EVE 3.8
    • Angélique Kidjo SINGS with the Orchestre Phiharmonique Du Luxembourg 3.9
  • Memoir: Spirit Rising, My Life, My Music 4
  • Collaboration with Philip Glass: IFÉ 5
  • Advocacy 6
  • Special concerts 7
  • Personal life 8
  • In popular culture 9
  • Discography 10
  • Videography 11
  • Soundtracks 12
  • TV shows 13
  • Awards 14
  • Dance/club hits 15
  • References 16
  • External links 17

Early life

Kidjo was born in Cotonou, Benin. Her father is from the Fon people of Ouidah and her mother from the Yoruba people. She grew up listening to Beninese traditional music, Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, James Brown, Manu Dibango, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Osibisa, and Santana. By the time she was six, Kidjo was performing with her mother's theatre troupe,[22] giving her an early appreciation for traditional music and dance. She started singing in her school band, Les Sphinx, and found success as a teenager with her adaptation of Miriam Makeba's "Les Trois Z", which played on national radio. She recorded the album Pretty with the Cameroonian producer Ekambi Brilliant and her brother Oscar. It featured the songs "Ninive", "Gbe Agossi" and a tribute to the singer Bella Bellow, one of her role models. The success of the album allowed her to tour all over West Africa. Continuing political conflicts in Benin prevented her from being an independent artist in her own country and led her to relocate to Paris in 1983.


While working various day jobs to pay for her tuition, Kidjo studied music at the CIM, a reputable jazz school in Paris where she met musician and producer Jean Hebrail, with whom she has composed most of her music. She started out as a backup singer in local bands. In 1985, she became the frontsinger of the known Euro-African jazz/rock band Jasper van't Hof's Pili Pili. Three Pili Pili studio albums followed: Jakko (1987), Be In Two Minds (1988, produced by Marlon Klein) and Hotel Babo (1990). By the end of the 1980s, she had become one of the most popular live performers in Paris and recorded a solo album called Parakou for the Open Jazz Label. She was then discovered in Paris by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who signed her in 1991. She recorded four albums for Island until Blackwell's departure from the label. In 2000 she was signed in New York by Columbia Records, for which label she recorded two albums.



Her first album for Island Records was recorded between Miami and Paris and produced by Miami Sound Machine drummer Joe Galdo and features Branford Marsalis and Manu DiBango on saxophones. It was released worldwide in 1991 and reached number one on the Billboard World Music chart. Music videos for the singles "We We" and "Batonga" were released and Kidjo made her first world tour, appearing at many festivals and headlining the Olympia Hall in Paris on October 31, 1992. Logozo is ranked number 37 in the Greatest Dance Albums of All Time list compiled by the Thump web site.[20]


Released in 1994, the album Ayé was produced by David Z at Prince's Paisley Park Studio in Minneapolis and by Will Mowat at Soul To Soul studio in London. It includes the single "Agolo", which gave Kidjo her first Grammy nomination.


Kidjo and Jean Hebrail traveled all over Benin in 1995 to record the traditional rhythms that would form the base for the Fifa album. Carlos Santana appears on "Naima", a piece Kidjo wrote for her daughter. The single "Wombo Lombo" and its video was a big success all over Africa in 1996.


In 1998, she started a trilogy of albums (Oremi, Black Ivory Soul and Oyaya) exploring the African roots of the music of the Americas.


Produced by Peter Mokran and Jean Hebrail, recorded in New York, Oremi is a collection of songs mixing African and African-American influences. Cassandra Wilson, Branford Marsalis, Kelly Price and Kenny Kirkland collaborated with Kidjo on this project. The opening track is a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child".

Black Ivory Soul

In 2002, Kidjo traveled to Salvador de Bahia to start recording the Axe percussion grooves for this album, based on Afro-Brazilian culture. She worked with songwriters Carlinhos Brown and Vinicius Cantuária. On the Brazilian version of the album Gilberto Gil joined her on "Refavela" and Daniella Mercury on "Tumba". Dave Matthews appears on the song "Iwoya".


Produced by Steve Berlin from Los Lobos and by the pianist Alberto Salas, released in 2004, Oyaya! mixes Latin and Caribbean music with African guitars. The French Guyanese Henri Salvador, who was 86 at the time of the recording, joined Kidjo on the song "Le Monde Comme un Bébé".

Djin Djin

Angélique Kidjo released the album Djin Djin on May 1, 2007. Many guests appear on the album including Josh Groban, Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Peter Gabriel, Amadou and Mariam, Ziggy Marley, and Branford Marsalis. The title refers to the sound of a bell in Africa that greets each new day. The album, produced by Tony Visconti, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music album and a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding World Music album.


Õÿö, released in Europe on January 19, 2010 and in America on April 6, 2010, pays tribute to the music of Kidjo's childhood in Benin. It mixes traditional music, Miriam Makeba's songs, classic soul of the 1960s and 1970s and even a Bollywood song. Dianne Reeves appears on Aretha Franklin's "Baby I Love You", Bono and John Legend on Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up, for which Kidjo recorded a video[23] with the Fela! dancers and Roy Hargrove on Santana's Samba Pa Ti. Produced by Kidjo and Jean Hebrail, the album was arranged in conjunction with the Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke. Õÿö was nominated for Best Contemporary World Music Album for the 53rd Grammy Awards.

Spirit Rising

Spirit Rising, the live album from Kidjo's PBS Special performance, was released in North America on February 22, 2012. It features a collection of songs from her entire career played live in Boston with special guests Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend, Dianne Reeves, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride and Josh Groban. She sings a version of "Redemption Song" with the Kuumba Singers.


On January 28, 2014, Kidjo released a new album, EVE, dedicated to the women of Africa, to their resilience and their beauty “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. She travelled to Kenya and Benin, from South to North and back, armed with a six track field recorder, to capture the sweet rhythmic harmonies and chants of traditional women choirs. 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, guitarist Dominic James, drummer Steve Jordan, bass great Christian McBride—under the guidance of producer Patrick Dillett, a longtime collaborator of David Byrne. 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, Nigerian Folk singer Aṣa on “Eva”, legendary pianist Dr. John, who adds his New Orleans magic to “Kulumbu”; The Kronos Quartet and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, The traditional Congolese song “Bana” features the vocals of Kidjo’s mother Yvonne. The album debuted at number 1 in the Billboard World Music chart.[24] The album EVE was rated #1 in the Top 12 of World Music albums for 2014 by Radio France Internationale.[25] Its opening track, "M'Baamba", featured in the New York Times′ "Top 10 songs of 2014" list.[26] EVE won the Grammy for Best World Music Album at the 57th Grammy Awards.[27]

Angélique Kidjo SINGS with the Orchestre Phiharmonique Du Luxembourg

On March 31, 2015, Angelique released her collaboration with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra. The album contains orchestral versions of 9 songs from previous albums and 2 original songs: Nanae and Otishe. All the songs are arranged by Gast Waltzing and David Laborier and the orchestra is conducted by Gast Waltzing. The Australian newspaper noted: "Kidjo opens what’s arguably her most ambitious album by paying homage to her heroine, Miriam Makeba. None of her three previously released versions of Malaika can match the majesty and grandeur of this latest spine-tingling rendition, which features the singer in superlative voice (in Swahili) backed by the strings and wind instruments of the 110-piece Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. Elsewhere, the consummate guitar playing of Kidjo’s compatriot Lionel Loueke and Brazilian Romero Lubambo augment conductor-trumpeter Gast Waltzing’s sumptuous arrangements. Sultry flute and flugelhorn helps Kidjo tease the nuances out of Carlos Santana’s smouldering Samba Pa Ti. In Fifa and Naima, swelling strings and soaring vocals follow tender a cappella intros. In Loloye, the strings flutter like a flock of flamingoes as horns ascend like eagles. Female back-up vocals lift Ominira and the previously unreleased Namae. A truly beautiful album, Sings combines the stately qualities of classical music with the coolness of jazz and the fervour of African and Brazilian rhythms.".[28] Says Rhythms Magazine’s Tony Hillier, “Sings is arguably the most ambitious and spiritually arresting album the New York-based West African singer has recorded in a long and distinguished career.”[29]

Memoir: Spirit Rising, My Life, My Music

With Rachel Wenrick, Kidjo has written a memoir entitled Spirit Rising. It was published by Harper Collins on January 7, 2014. Desmond Tutu wrote the preface and Alicia Keys the foreword. On the back cover, Bill Clinton is quoted as saying: “The only thing bigger than Angélique Kidjo’s voice is her heart. In this evocative memoir, Kidjo chronicles an inspiring life of music and activism, and raises a passionate call for freedom, dignity, and the rights of people everywhere.”[30]

Collaboration with Philip Glass: IFÉ

January 17, 2014, saw the premiere of IFÉ: Three Yoruba songs for Angelique Kidjo and the Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer at the Philharmonie hall in Luxembourg. Philip Glass wrote the orchestral music based on three creation poems in Yoruba sung by Kidjo. In the program notes, Philip Glass says: "Angelique, together we have built a bridge that no one has walked on before."[31][32] The piece made its American premiere with the San Francisco Symphony to a sold out crowd in the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall on July 10, 2015.[33]


Kidjo has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2002. With UNICEF, she has travelled to many countries in Africa. Reports on her visits can be found on the UNICEF site: Benin, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Syria, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Haiti.

Along with Mary Louise Cohen[34] and John R. Phillips,[35] Kidjo founded The Batonga Foundation, which gives girls a secondary school and higher education so that they can take the lead in changing Africa. The foundation is doing this by granting scholarships, building secondary schools, increasing enrollment, improving teaching standards, providing school supplies, supporting mentor programs, exploring alternative education models and advocating for community awareness of the value of education for girls.

She campaigned for Oxfam at the 2005 Hong Kong WTO meeting, for the their Fair Trade Campaign and travelled with them in North Kenya and at the border of Darfur and Chad with a group of women leaders in 2007 and participated in the video for the In My Name Campaign with from the Black Eyed Peas.

She hosted the Tunis on November 11, 2011, and sang at the Award Ceremony on November 12, 2011, also in Dakar on November 10, 2012, and Addis Ababa in November 2013.

Since March 2009, Kidjo has been campaigning for "Africa for women's rights". This campaign was launched by The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

On September 28, 2009, UNICEF and Pampers launched a campaign to eradicate Tetanus "Give The Gift Of Life" and asked Kidjo to produce the song "You Can Count On Me" to support the campaign. Each download of the song donates a vaccine to a mother or a mother-to-be.

With Jessica Biel and Peter Wentz, Angélique Kidjo was a LiveEarth Ambassador for the 2010 Run For Water events.

Kidjo has recorded a video based on her song "Agolo" and on the images of Yann Arthus-Bertrand for the United Nations SEAL THE DEAL Campaign to prepare for the Copenhagen Climate Change summit.

The Commission of the African Union (AU) announced on July 16, 2010, the appointment of Angélique Kidjo as one of 14 Peace Ambassadors to support the implementation of the 2010 Year of Peace and Security programme.

She appears in the Sudan365: Keep the Promise video to support the peace process in Darfur.

In June 2010, she contributed the song "Leila" to the Enough Project and Downtown Records' Raise Hope for Congo compilation. Proceeds from the compilation fund efforts to make the protection and empowerment of Congo’s women a priority, as well as inspire individuals around the world to raise their voice for peace in Congo.

In 2011, Kidjo collaborated with Red Hot + Rio 2. The album is a follow-up to the 1996 Red Hot + Rio. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS/HIV and related health and social issues. Kidjo recorded a version of Fela Kuti's "Lady" with Questlove and Tune-Yards for the Red Hot Organization in 2012.

In September 2012, she was featured in a campaign called "30 Songs/30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book.[36]

On February 18, 2013, at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Kidjo was the host of a night of celebration for the cultural heritage of Mali. The event included performances by many Malian artists. [37]

On May 22, 2014, Kidjo met with First lady Michelle Obama to discuss international girls' education, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House.[38]

On September 21, 2014, Kidjo was one of the endorsees of the People's Climate March.[39] She joined the march in New York, along with Mary Robinson, and was interviewed by Amy Goodman for Democracy Now.[40]

November 2014 saw Kidjo collaborating with many other artists in Band Aid 30, the 30th-anniversary version of the 1980s supergroup.

In 2015 she signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.[41]

Angelique is a contributor to the Art Of Saving A Life Campaign initiated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[42]

On Sept 25th, 2015, she sung Afirika at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in support of the launch of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development along with Shakira after a speech by Pope Francis and before Malala.[43][44]

Special concerts

In 1996, Angélique Kidjo performed in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert honoring Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and José Ramos-Horta for their work in East Timor.

IN 1998, she was part of the Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair tour.

In 2002, she performed in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert honoring President Jimmy Carter.

In February 2003, she performed a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City alongside Chicago blues guitar legend Buddy Guy and New York rock guitarist Vernon Reid (of Living Colour) in what would become part of Lightning In A Bottle: One Night In The History Of The Blues, a documentary about blues music that features live concert footage of other rock, rap, and blues greats.

In November 2003, she sang with Peter Gabriel and Youssou N'Dour at the Cape Town 46664 concert for Nelson Mandela's Foundation.

In May 2004, she performed at the Quincy Jones-produced concert in Rome called "We Are The Future" in front of 400,000 people. The show took place at the Circus Maximus with appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Herbie Hancock and other international stars.

In 2005, Kidjo appeared at the Africa Unite Live concert in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a concert to celebrate Hon Bob Marley's 60th birthday, and was a featured speaker at the conference of African Unity held along with the concert.

In March 2005, she appeared at the Africa Live concert in Dakar along with many great African stars in front of 50,000 people.

In June 2005, she was part of the Live 8 concert, Eden Project hosted by Angelina Jolie in Cornwall, UK.

Kidjo in 2006.

In 2007, she covered John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" for the CD Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.

In 2007, she toured North America extensively with Josh Groban's "Awake" show.

On July 7, 2007, Kidjo performed at the South African leg of Live Earth.

Annie Lennox has joined forces with Kidjo and 22 other female artists to raise the awareness of the transmission of HIV to unborn children in Africa.

Kidjo was also a judge for the 7th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.[45]

Kidjo performed at the 75th Birthday Celebration of Quincy Jones at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July 2008.

She made her Carnegie Hall debut in New York on November 1, 2008.

Her Royal Albert Hall debut in London was on November 26, 2008, along with Hugh Masekela for the "African Stars" concert benefitting VSO.

She appears on the "Price of Silence" video produced by Amnesty International to celebrate the 60 years of the Declaration of Human Rights.

Along with Joan Baez, Michael Franti and Jackson Browne, she performed at Peace Ball for Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2009.

Kidjo made her Sydney Opera House debut in Australia on April 12, 2009.

Kidjo appeared in the theatrical performance of Storie fantastiche dal delta del Niger by Raffaele Curi for the Alda Fendi Experimenti Foundation in Rome in April 2009.

Also in April 2009, Kidjo performed at Africa Day in

  • Official Angélique Kidjo Site
  • The Batonga Foundation
  • Angélique Kidjo on My Space
  • Angélique Kidjo on YouTube
  • Angélique Kidjo on Imeem
  • Angélique Kidjo on Eventful
  • review of Angélique Kidjo, January 2014.New York Times
  • Afropop Worldwide interview with Angélique Kidjo, February 2002.
  • profile of Angélique Kidjo, May 2009.African VoicesCNN
  • Singer Angelique Kidjo Speaks Out on Climate Change - video report by Democracy Now!.
  • Angélique Kidjo video interview at underyourskin

External links

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  6. ^ Khaleeli, Homa (March 8, 2011). "Angélique Kidjo". The Guardian (London). 
  7. ^ Nsehe, Mfonobong. "Angelique Kidjo, 51, Beninoise, Musician - In Photos: The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  8. ^ McNulty, Bernadette (July 13, 2012). "BT River of Music: Angélique Kidjo interview for London 2012". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  9. ^ "'"African Diva Kidjo Empowered By 'Bad Religion. NPR. 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
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  14. ^ Kidjo, Angelique (November 30, 2012). "Songs of Freedom".  
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  22. ^ Weickgenant, Joel (March 29, 2008). "Kidjo's Music Crosses Borders, Boundaries".  
  23. ^ "Angelique Kidjo - MOVE ON UP - with Bono and John Legend featuring the Bill T. Jones' FELA! Dancers". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
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  41. ^ Tracy McVeigh. "Poverty is sexist: leading women sign up for global equality | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
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  79. ^
  80. ^


Angélique's music has been remixed by famous producers including Norman Cook ("We We") and Tricky ("Agolo"). Several of her singles have reached the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart. In 1996, Junior Vasquez remixes of her song "Wombo Lombo" brought the song to Number 16. In 2002, King Britt remixes of her single "Tumba" helped the song reach Number 26. "Agolo" was remixed by Mark Kinchen, "Shango" was remixed by Junior Vasquez, and "Conga Habanera" was remixed by Jez Colin. "Salala" from, Djin Djin, was remixed in 2007 by Junior Vasquez and Radioactive Sandwich.[8]. "Move On Up" was remixed by Radioclit, the team from the Very Best.

Dance/club hits

Angélique Kidjo is the 4th laureate of the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award (2007). Created in 2004 on the 25th anniversary of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, each year the award is given to an artist distinguished in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz and cultural crossover is widely recognized.

Grammy nominations include the Best Music Video of 1995 and Best World Music Album in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2014. She won in 2007 and 2014

  • Prix Découverte RFI SACEM (France, 1991)
  • Octave RFI (France, 1992)
  • Prix Afrique en Creation (France, 1992)
  • Danish Music Awards: Best Female Singer (Denmark, 1995)
  • Kora Music Awards: Best African Female artist (Africa, 1997)
  • Mobo Awards for Best World Music Act (UK, 2002)
  • Médaille De Vermeil De La Ville De Paris (France, 2004)
  • Africa-Festival Award (Germany, 2006)
  • SAFDA African Pride Award (South Africa, 2006)
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim Award (Canada, 2007)
  • N.A.A.C.P. Image Award for Outstanding World Music Album (USA, 2008)
  • Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album (USA, 2008)
  • Go Global World Music Award (Denmark, 2008)
  • Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic (Italy, 2008)
  • Commander of the National Order of Benin (Benin, 2008)
  • Making a Difference for Women Award from the National Council for Research on Women (USA, 2009)
  • Afropop Hall of Fame (USA, 2009)
  • Celebrating Women Award from the New York Women's Foundation (USA, 2009)
  • Premio Tenco Prize for her entire singing career (Italy, 2009)
  • On May 8, 2010, Kidjo was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by Berklee College (USA)
  • Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France, 2010)[64]
  • Grand Prix Des Musiques Du Monde De La Sacem for her entire songwriting career (France, 2010)[65]
  • Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary World Music Album (USA, 2011)
  • Prix Special de la Francophonie (Washington DC, USA, 2011)[66]
  • Champions of the Earth Award [67] (United Nations, 2011)
  • BET Awards nomination for Best International Act: Africa (USA, 2011)
  • Miroir Awards for World Music of the Festival d'été de Quebec (Canada, 2012)[68]
  • Trophée Des Arts, FIAF French Institute, Alliance Française (New York, 2012)[69]
  • Keep A Child Alive's Award for Outstanding Humanitarian Work, shared with Oprah Winfrey, (New York, 2012)[70]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Diaspora Awards 2012[71]
  • Songlines Music Awards in the Best Artist category (UK 2013)[72]
  • On May 25, 2014, Kidjo was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts by Middlebury College (USA)
  • On June 4, 2014, Kidjo received the Arms Around The Child Award along with Jez Frampton during The Other Ball event in London hosted by Mark Ronson with Lily Allen, Florence And The Machine, Blood Orange and Rudimental[73]
  • On October 28, 2014, Kidjo was awarded the Chair Citation by The Dag Hammerskjold Fund for Journalists at the United Nations in New York. Past recipients include Bob Woodruff and Nicholas D. Kristof[74]
  • On December 27, 2014, in Lagos, Nigeria, Kidjo won two All African Music Awards (AFRIMA): one for Best Contemporary Artist, one for Best Female Singer from West Africa.[75]
  • Angelique is the recipient of the 2015 Crystal Award given by the [21]
  • On January 28, 2015, Kidjo was awarded the Visionary Leadership Award by the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, Connecticut.[76]
  • Grammy Award, on February 8, 2015, Kidjo won her second Grammy for World Music album for "Eve," a tribute to the continent's women.[77]
  • On February 9, 2015, Kidjo won the International Mappie Award given by the M-Magasin in Stockholm, Sweden[78]
  • On May 6, 2015, Kidjo was awarded the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award in New York by Synergos. Past recipients include Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Jennifer and Peter Buffett, Mo Ibrahim.[79]
  • On May 18, 2015, Angelique Kidjo was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by Yale University (USA)[17]
  • On Oct 6th, 2015, Angelique Kidjo was awarded the Impact Award by the [80]


She was interviewed by David Frost for Al Jazeera in 2008[60] and Christine Amanpour for CNN in 2009, 2012 and 2014.[61] She was the host of the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS in March 2010 and February 2014[62] and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in July 2010.[63]

Kidjo has appeared on

TV shows

Kidjo also recorded songs for various movies, TV shows and documentaries, among them:


Year Title Album Director Ref
1991 We We LOGOZO Tom Watson
1991 Batonga LOGOZO Michel Meyer
1994 Agolo AYE Michel Meyer
1994 Adouma AYE N/A
1996 Wombo Lombo FIFA Michel Meyer
1996 Shango FIFA N/A
1998 Voodoo Chile OREMI N/A
1998 We Are One Lion King II soundtrack N/A
2007 Gimme Shelter featuring Joss Stone DJIN DJIN N/A
2010 Move On Up OYO Kevin Custer
2012 PBS Special: Angelique Kidjo and Friends SPIRIT RISING Jim Gable
2014 Eva featuring ASA EVE Kevin Custer
2015 Ekomole as featured artiste N/A N/A [55]


  • Pretty (1981)
  • Ewa Ka Djo (Let's Dance) (1985)
  • Parakou (1990)
  • Logozo (1991)
  • Ayé (1994)
  • Fifa (1996)
  • Oremi (1998)
  • Keep On Moving: The Best Of Angelique Kidjo (2001)
  • Black Ivory Soul (2002)
  • Oyaya! (2004)
  • Djin Djin (2007)
  • Õÿö (2010)
  • Spirit Rising (Live) (2012)
  • Eve (2014)
  • SINGS with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (2015)


  • Kidjo's song "Ife" is featured in the montage section in the 1995 Jim Carrey film Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
  • Kidjo is featured on Daniela Mercury's album Sol da Liberdade on the track "Dara".
  • Kidjo's song "Worth Fighting For" features in the Jean-Claude Van Damme film Street Fighter while Guile is reminiscing about his friend Charlie Blanka.
  • In 1997 Kidjo's song "Agolo" was used as the main theme of the Chilean soap opera Oro Verde.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Simpson Safari", Homer's guide sings lines from Kidjo's "Wé-Wé", from her album Logozo.
  • Kidjo appeared in a bonus track of the official The Lion King 2 soundtrack, reprising the song "We Are One", featuring a more African-influenced arrangement of instruments and several lines in Fon.
  • She sang and produced with Jean Hebrail a track called "Easy As Life" for Tina Turner on the Elton John and Tim Rice album Aida.
  • She sang "Jamaica Farewell" with Dan Zanes on his House Party album.
  • She has collaborated with Philippe Saisse on the song "La Vie" from his Halfway 'til Dawn album.
  • She wrote a song called "Wele Wele" for the EA video game FIFA 2007.
  • She sang with Debbie Davies on the French version of The Lion King′s "Hakuna Matata".
  • She was one of the musicians who each sang a cover of Little Boxes used in the third season of Weeds
  • She covered the U2 song "Mysterious Ways" on the Africa Celebrate U2 album released in 2008.
  • Carlos Santana covered Kidjo's song "Adouma" as the opening song of his Shaman album.
  • She sings the African song "Safiatou" on the Herbie Hancock album Possibilities.
  • In 2009, Angélique Kidjo released a version of "Redemption Song" on the compilation album Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration.[53]
  • She gave an interview in the 2009 documentary film Still Bill about fellow musician Bill Withers.
  • Angelique is one of the contributors of the MOMA (Museum Of Modern Art of New York) project called "Design and Violence"[54]

In popular culture

Kidjo married French musician and producer Jean Hébrail in 1987. They have a daughter, Naima, born in 1993.[52]

Personal life

October 3rd, 2015 saw the French sold out premiere of IFÉ, Three Yoruba songs, Angelique's collaboration with Philip Glass at the new prestigious Philharmonie De Paris with the Orchestre Lamoureux conducted by Gast Waltzing.[50][51]

On July 10, 2015, Angelique sung with the San Francisco Symphony at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. The program included Gershwin's Summertime, IFÉ, her collaboration with Philip Glass and some songs from her album SINGS.[33]

On November 5, 2014, Kidjo presented her "Mama Africa" tribute concert to Miriam Makeba at Carnegie Hall. The sold-out concert featured special guests Laura Mvula, Ezra Koenig and Vusi Mahlasela and was introduced by Whoopi Goldberg.[49]

On May 29, 2014, Kidjo sang with Brazilian singer Lenine and Portuguese guitar player Rui Veloso for the opening concert of The Rolling Stones at Rock In Rio Lisboa.

On May 14, 2014, Kidjo sang at the famous Brazilian music award show "Prêmio da Música Brasileira" at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro.[48]

On September 13, 2013, Kidjo sang at the legendary Rock in Rio Festival with the rock band Living Color.

On March 8, 2013, SouthBank Centre.

On December 6, 2012, Kidjo joined the Alicia Keys's Keep A Child Alive Black Ball in Harlem at the Apollo Theatre along with Jennifer Hudson, Bonnie Raitt and Brittany Howard. Oprah Winfrey and Angelique Kidjo were honored for their humanitarian work at the ceremony. She sang "Pata Pata", "Afirika" and "Djin Djin" as a duet with Alicia Keys.

On October 9, 2012, Kidjo sang for the One World Concert in Syracuse, NY, honoring the Dave Matthews, Swizz Beatz, Natasha Bedingfield, David Crosby, Counting Crows, Roberta Flack, Nelly Furtado, A. R. Rahman. Phil Ramone served as music producer and Whoopi Goldberg as MC. Kidjo sang "Move On Up" and also "True Colors" as a duet with Cyndi Lauper.

On July 21, 2012, Kidjo performed with 2012 London Olympic Games.

Kidjo sang "Blewu", "Redemption Song" and "Toast to Freedom" at the "Electric Burma" concert in Dublin on June 18, 2012, honoring Amnesty International and also featured Bono, Damien Rice, Vanessa Redgrave and many others.

On April 30, 2012, Kidjo was part of the International Jazz Day organized by UNESCO at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City, with Herbie Hancock, Terrence Blanchard, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Tony Bennett, Shaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masekela and many others.

On February 28, 2012, Kidjo created, together with the Italian Mission, a special concert called "Raise your Voice to End Female Genital Mutilation" at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City.

On February 17, 2012, Kidjo performed for the opening of the Carnival of Recife, Brazil with Nana Vasconcelos and Maestro Forro

On December 10, 2011, Kidjo sang "Malaika" in Oslo at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman. Kidjo also performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert the next day along with Janelle Monae, Evanescence, Sugarland, Jill Scott and many others. The event was hosted by Helen Mirren and Rosario Dawson.

On October 27, 2011, Kidjo performed at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar, following the screening of Mama Africa, a documentary about Miriam Makeba's life.

On October 1, 2011, she created a special concert based on Beninese traditional songs with guest guitarist Lionel Loueke for the "Heroic Africans" exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

On June 8, 2011, Kidjo performed her most famous songs with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Philharmonie Luxembourg Hall.

Kidjo was one of the performers at the BET Honours Awards in February 2011

From December 10 until December 19, 2010, Kidjo participated to the Fesman 2010, the World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar, Senegal. The Festival is the third edition of a festival devoted to the African culture all over the world.

On November 11, 2010, Kidjo presented her "Sound Of The Drum" show at Carnegie Hall. The sold-out concert featured special guests Youssou N'Dour, Omara Portuondo, Dianne Reeves and guitarist Romero Lubambo and told the story of the African roots of the music of the diaspora.

On August 30, 2010, Kidjo sang at the 30th Anniversary celebration of Solidarnosc in the Polish city of Gdańsk produced by Bob Wilson and Hal Willner featuring Philip Glass, Marianne Faithfull, Rufus Wainwright and Macy Gray.

On June 17, 2010, she performed at Les FrancoFolies de Montréal - the Montreal Francofolies festival of French-language music.

On June 10, 2010, she was part of the Official Kick-Off Celebration Concert of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, along with John Legend, Hugh Masekela, Shakira, Alicia Keys, Juanes and Black Eyed Peas.

On February 28, 2010, she performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic concert hall designed by Frank Gehry.

On February 15, 2010, Kidjo performed in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics Games at the Place De La Francophonie.

On December 7, 2009, on the opening day of the UN Copenhagen Climate Change summit, Kidjo sang, along with Anggun, Shaggy, Youssou N'Dour and Cheb Khaled, at the Dance 4 Climate Change concert.

On December 4, 2009, in Cape Town, South Africa, she performed her song "Agolo" at the Final Draw of the Fifa World Cup 2010.

On October 23, 2009, she sang at the United Nations General Assembly for the UN Day Concert, A Tribute to Peacekeeping with Nile Rodgers, John McLaughlin and Lang Lang.

On September 25, 26 and 27, 2009, the Festival D'Ile De France in Paris asked Kidjo to curate a tribute to her idol Miriam Makeba at the Cirque d'hiver. She invited Rokia Traoré, Dobet Gnahoré, Sayon Bamba Camara, Vusi Mahlasela, Asa and Ayo. Kidjo curated another version of the same show at the Barbican in London on November 21, 2009, with Baaba Maal replacing Rokia Traoré.

On August 28, 29 and 30, 2009, she participated to the Back2Black Festival devoted to African culture in Rio de Janeiro along with Gilberto Gil, Youssou N'Dour and Omara Portuondo.

In July 2009 she sang a duet with Alicia Keys at Radio City Hall in New York for the 46664 concert for Nelson Mandela's Foundation.

In Europe in July 2009, together with Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright and Simone, Kidjo was part of a touring tribute to Nina Simone called "Sing The Truth".


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