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Angelique Kidjo

After rising to international success with the release of her chart-topping 1991 album Logozo, West African singer Angélique Kidjo became a fixture of world music, pairing her unique multilingual fusion of Afrobeat, pop, jazz, reggae, and various African traditions with collaborators who span multiple genres of music, from Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet to Peter Gabriel , Alicia Keys , Dr. John , and Branford Marsalis . After leaving her native Benin for Paris, Kidjo recorded a string of critically acclaimed albums for Island Records in the 90s, followed by an ambitious trilogy that saw her exploring African music’s influence in the Americas, from gospel to Brazilian and Latin. Her adventurous spirit and collaborative nature have been hallmarks of her career, while a deep-rooted sense of her Beninese and West African heritage has remained a through-line in all of her recordings, from 2007’s star-studded Djin Djin to 2014′s culturally rich Eve — both earned Grammy Awards. Fluent in Fon, French, Yorùbá, Gen, and English, as well as a personal language she developed, she is known to sing in multiple languages — often within the same song. Also known for her advocacy, Kidjo has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, campaigned for OXFAM, and created the Batonga Foundation, which provides secondary school and higher education to girls in Benin and other West African nations. In 2018 she covered Talking Heads  Afrobeat-influenced album Remain in Light in its entirety, and a year later issued Celia , her tribute album to Cuban vocal legend Celia Cruz . Kidjo released Mother Nature , her first album of original material in seven years, in 2021. The daughter of an actress, dancer, and theatrical producer, Kidjo was born in Ouidah, a coastal city in the West African country of Benin. Inheriting her mother’s love of performing, she made her stage debut with her mother’s theatrical troupe. Inspired by a wide variety of music, from African artists like Fela Kuti and Miriam Makeba to the rock, pop, and soul of Jimi Hendrix , Santana , James Brown , and Aretha Franklin , she was singing professionally by her 20th birthday. She recorded her debut album, Pretty (produced by Cameroon-based vocalist Ekambi Brilliant), in 1981; it yielded the hit single Ninive.CONTINUE…