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Angelique Kidjo: All Afro Funk Rhythms!

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Angelique Kidjo is an African songwriter who was born in Benin in 1960. Since very early years, Angelique had been in contact with art. In fact, when she was just 6 years old, she started performing with her mother in the last one’s theatre troupe. With this, she won a great reputation mainly locally. At the age of 23 years old, Angelique moved from her country to France due to political conflicts and because that was a better place to improve her career. By that time, she began singing specially backing local bands. Her experience dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds, allowed her have a very characteristic musical style.

Her music has been influenced by Caribbean zouk, Jazz, Afropop, Congolese rumba, and Gospel styles. Latin styles such as salsa, rumba, samba and reggae are also mixed in Angelique’s music. She sings whether in Yoruba, Swahili and Fon (African tongues) as well as English and French. When she was just 20 years old, she released her first album Pretty with the well-known Cameroonian producer and singer Ekami Brillant. The success of Pretty in Africa was amazing as well as unexpected. She had become not only a recognized artist but also a major artist in the Afro Caribbean scenery.

Parakou (1990) was the first album wherein Angelique was able to develop her own musical style. Remarkable in this album is the ballad “Blewu.” In 1991, she launched her album Logozo which enjoyed the acceptance of the European audience. Two singles were specially outstanding “Batonga” and “Wéwé.” Her afro funk influence was even more evident with her next release Aye (1994). Moreover, the most popular single of Angelique’s career “Agolo” was encompassed in this album. Fifa (1996) was one of the most important and successful albums for Angelique. The single “Fifa” (Fon for Peace) was part of the soundtrack for “Ace Ventura”. Afro rhythms have been spread through all corners of the world thanks to Oremi (1998), Keep On Moving: The Best Of Angelique Kidjo (2001), Black Ivory Soul (2002), Oyaya! (2004) as well.

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