Sunday, February 1, 2009

About Music - Angelique Kidjo

Angélique Kidjo (born July 14, 1960) is a Grammy Award-winning Beninese singer-songwriter, noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos. Born in Ouidah, Benin, she was performing with her mother's theatre troupe by the time she was six, giving her an early appreciation for music and dance. Political conflicts in Benin led her to relocate to Paris around 1982. 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 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. She is married to musician and producer Jean Hebrail with whom she has daughter Naïma (born 1993), and is currently based in New York.

Her musical influences include the Afropop, Caribbean zouk, Congolese rumba, jazz, gospel, and Latin styles. Kidjo's hits include the songs "Agolo", "Ayé", and "Batonga".Kidjo is fluent in Fon, French, Yoruba, 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 Swahili language. She often utilizes Benin's traditional Zilin vocal technique and jazz vocalese.

Her latest album titled “Djin Djin was released in 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, “Djin Djin”, refers to the sound of a bell in Africa that greets each new day. It was produced by Tony Visconti, who is known for producing David Bowie, Morrissey, and T. Rex, among others. Find out more at:


  1. "Agolo" is one of my favourite songs of all time. I like how she uses the African voice and merges it with the instruments. A modern African song.

    She's a magnificent performer.

  2. Hi R, I discovered her music over a decade ago when I found one of her CDs at a used record shop in L.A. on the "promo" rack. She became my favorite female world singer until I heard Cesaria Evora one day. Now, She's holds that #1 spot.