Grammy Award-winning artist Angelique Kidjo cries out for peace and love when she sings. Born in the West African country of Benin, Kidjo vividly recalls the first time she performed at age six. She sang a traditional Beninese song called “Atcha Houn.” Later, she learned to sculpt her own lyrics as a way to express her feelings about the political turmoil that severed her country.
“My first reaction was to write a song: instead of screaming my rage I would sing it,” she writes in a letter to the NYTimes. Today, 52, Kidjo is on her “Spirit Rising World Tour,” which stops in Miami for one night only. On Friday, May 31, Kidjo will perform at the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall at 8:30 p.m. Audience members will get to enjoy fan favorites such as “Agolo,” “Afirka” and “Batonga” and more. Among her international following are celebrities John Legend, Bono and Prince who have also performed with her over the years.
If you aren’t familiar with Angelique Kidjo, you may recall her performance at the 2010 FIFA Official World Cup Kick-off Concert that featured an international cast of high-profile musicians including Shakira, Black Eyed Peas, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, and Alicia Keys at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In 2011, Kidjo was recognized among “Africa’s Most Iconic Figures” by the BBC and Forbes recognized her among the “40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” that same year.