In all the years since I first began singing, I've never performed a song that I didn't love. Each one feels like a baby of mine; it has its fragility and its strength, and I will never forget it because it's a part of me.
With a vibrant mix of African, American and European inspirations, a fabulous voice, and a radiant performance, this young woman from Benin represents all that is great and funky in world music today.
Angélique Kidjo was born in the Beninese village of Ouidah. Around her she heard traditional African music mixing with sounds from Brazil, the music of Bahia immigrants. Music was in her blood from the beginning, and at the age of six she started performing it herself. From that first experience in her mother's theatre troupe, Angélique went on to work out a career for herself, and before her twentieth birthday, she was one of very few female professional singers in Benin.
In 1983 she relocated to Paris where she sang in Jasper Van Hof's jazz group Pili Pili before she formed her own band. She met and later married Jean Hebrail, a bassist and composer, who participates in creating her albums.
Angélique sings in Fon, Yoruba, English and French. Her teenage influences were Hendrix, Santana, Miriam Makeba, James Brown, Fela Kuti, the Beatles, and Aretha Franklin. Kidjo's music today ranges between afro-funk, reggae, samba, salsa, gospel, jazz, zairean rumba, souk and makossa - in short, impossible to classify.
Some call it afro-funk, they can call it whatever they want, but it is really difficult to classify my music within only one style. Even when I use my own traditional music I don't try to recreate just only style but rather I mix it all.
Keep on moving (Best of Angélique Kidjo) (2001)
Black Ivory Soul (2002)
I hope that when you listen to this very diverse material, where the influence of many styles and other artists can be found, that you will hear a voice of the continent that I am so proud to come from: AFRICA.