By Josephine Agbonkhese
Nigerians were disappointed last Sunday when at the 2020 Grammys in Los Angeles, USA, Beninese singer-songwriter and actress, Angelique Kidjo, was announced the winner of the World Music Album category for which one of their indigenous music stars, Burna Boy, was also nominated alongside three others.
That was Kidjo‘s fourth Grammy win in nine nominations; first of which came in 1995 with her first Grammy coming 12 years later when she won the Best Contemporary World Music category.
It would have been the first for Burna Boy though and of course his first Grammy nomination too; a feat made possible by his fourth album ‘African Giant’ in which, interestingly, he collaborated with Kidjo on a track entitled ‘Different’.
While Nigerian music lovers still feel defrauded by the Record Academy as they couldn’t see any reason their homeboy to whom Kidjo dedicated her award lost the Grammy, we bring you a few things you probably didn’t know about four-time Grammy award winner, Angelique Kidjo plus perhaps why her album, ‘Celia’, won over others in the Best World Music Album category.
*Kidjo was born in Ouidah, Benin, on July 14, 1960, to a Beninese father and Yoruba mother.
*At age six, she was already performing with her mother’s theatre troupe. That gave her an early appreciation for traditional music and dance, so much that in school, she joined her school band, Les Sphinx, and soon found success as a teenager with her adaptation of Miriam Makeba’s “Les Trois Z”, which played on national radio.
*She grew up listening to Beninese traditional music, Fela Kuti, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, James Brown, Manu Dibango, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Osibisa, Celia Cruz and Santana.
*The success of her first album, ‘Pretty’, which was recorded with a Cameroonian, earned her a tour of West Africa until political conflicts in Benin led her to relocate to Paris in 1983.