Today in History: Singer, Songwriter, Angélique Kidjo Was Born

Angélique Kidjo

Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo popularly known as Angélique Kidjo, is a singer-songwriter, actress, and activist.

The Beninese five-time Grammy Award winning is noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos.

She was born into a family of performing artists. Her father was also a musician, and her mother worked as a choreographer and theatre director.


Her musical influences include Afropop, Caribbean zouk, Congolese rumba, jazz, gospel, and Latin styles.

Angélique Kidjo has also collaborated on projects with Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews Band, Kelly Price, Alicia Keys, Branford Marsalis, Ziggy Marley, Philip Glass, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Yo-Yo Ma, Carlos Santana, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Josh Groban, Dr John, the Kronos Quartet, Yemi Alade, Cassandra Wilson, Burna Boy, Sting, Mr Eazi and Indonesia’s pop star Anggun. Kidjo’s hit songs include “Agolo”, “We We”, “Adouma”, “Wombo Lombo”, “Afirika”, “Batonga”, and her version of “Malaika”.

Her album Logozo also ranks number 37 in the Greatest Dance Albums of All Time list by Vice magazine’s Thump website.

Read Also: Today in History: Wole Soyinka Was Born


She is fluent in five languages: Fon, French, Yorùbá, Gen (Mina), and English and sings in all of them, and she also has her own personal language, which also includes words that serve as song titles such as “Batonga”. “Malaika” is a song in the Swahili language. Kidjo often uses Benin’s traditional Zilin vocal technique and vocalese.

Time Magazine has also called her “Africa’s premier diva”. The BBC has included her in its list of the continent’s 50 most iconic figures, and in 2011 The Guardian listed her as one of their Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World. Forbes Magazine has ranked Angelique as the first woman in their list of the Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa.

Also Read: Today in History: MKO Abiola Passed Away at The Age of 60

However, Angélique Kidjo is the recent recipient of the prestigious 2015 Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the 2016 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, and the 2018 German Sustainability Award.

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