ANGELIQUE KIDJO

Tour Availability  June – August 2020
Booking  Kjell Kalleklev / +47 911 03 280 (e-post)
As a child I saw Celia Cruz singing in Benin and her energy and joy changed my life. It was the first I was seeing a powerful woman performer on a stage. Her voice was percussive and her songs resonated in a mysterious way with me. Many years later, I learned she was singing the Yoruba songs that were carried out of Benin 400 years before. I felt she was a long lost sister from the other side of the world. Like me, she experienced exile from a dictatorship and she was always proud of her roots, of her African roots. In the same way I wanted to bring back Rock and Roll to Africa with myTalking Heads’ Remain In Light project, I now want to pay homage to this incredible voice and those songs that reunite with their juju and Afrobeat roots.”(Kidjo).
Angélique Kidjo is on a roll. For years, she has been an entertaining, reliable fixture on the world-music scene, a powerful singer famed for mixing African material, including songs by her heroine Miriam Makeba, with old favourites by anyone from Bob Marley to Sam Cooke. But it’s her most recent albums that have demonstrated the scope of her ambition. First came her original reinterpretation of Talking Heads’ 1980 album Remain in Light, in which she advanced the African influences in their music. Now she applies the same technique to the songs of Celia Cruz, the queen of salsa. This is not just an album of covers but an inventive reinterpretation.
Cruz, who died in 2003, became a massive star in the US after refusing to return to Cuba when Fidel Castro took power. But Kidjo’s album is a reminder of Cruz’s African roots, born in a poor black neighbourhood of Havana: the salsa hits are reworked with Afrobeat hero Tony Allen on drums, joined by the west African Gangbé Brass Band, Britain’s Sons of Kemet and American Meshell Ndegeocello on bass.
The set opens with a new version of Cruz’s cheerful 1975 hit Cucala, with guitar and percussion dominating in place of brass. A later Cruz hit, La Vida Es Un Carnaval is given an edgy, Ethiopian-inspired treatment, while the rapid-fire Quimbara is treated to an Afrobeat setting, with Allen in subtle form. Kidjo’s singing is powerful and assured throughout, from the upbeat revamp of Bemba Colorá to the brooding, chanting echoes of Santería, the Afro-Cuban religion, on Elegua and Yemaya, a tribute to the orisha (spirit) of motherhood and ruler of the seas, now set to an African juju beat. Magnificent.
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