Angetlique Kidjo’s jazzy, funky music was the inspiration for this modern abstract painting. Her music is so recognizably unique that it inspires me to march to my own drummer. The album I was listening to was “Keep on Moving” … and I will.
Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo,commonly known as Angélique Kidjo, is a Grammy Award–winning Beninoise singer-songwriter and activist, noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos. Time Magazine has called her “Africa’s premier diva”. The BBC has included Kidjo in its list of the African continent’s 50 most iconic figures. The Guardian has listed her as one of its Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World and Kidjo is the first woman to be listed among “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa” by Forbes Magazine. The Daily Telegraph in London describes her as “The undisputed queen of African music” during the 2012 Olympic Games River of Music Festival. In March 2013, NPR, National Public Radio in America, called her “Africa’s greatest living diva”.
While working various day jobs to pay for her tuition, Kidjo studied music at the CIM, a reputable jazz school in Paris where she met and married musician and producer Jean Hebrail, with whom she has composed most of her music. 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 Pili Pili 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 and recorded a solo album called Parakou for the Open Jazz Label.