Fest Focus: Angélique Kidjo

by Van McNeil

In her more than 20-year career, Festival International de Louisiane's Thursday headliner has gained worldwide recognition as the queen of Afropop.

[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of profiles of the many artists who will perform at Festival International de Louisiane, held the last weekend in April in Downtown Lafayette. For more on the festival, visit the official site here.]

In her more than 20-year career Angélique Kidjo has gained worldwide recognition as the queen of Afropop. Time Magazine called her “Africa’s greatest living diva.” She’s an icon of style and substance, the real deal. And soon she’ll be headlining our very own Festival International de Louisiane.

Kidjo’s Grammy Award-winning music is a unique blend of jazz, gospel and African influences. She’s covered songs ranging from “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child.” Her long list of collaborators include Dave Matthews, Alicia Keys and Dr. John.

Kidjo is also a champion for women’s rights. She founded the Batonga Foundation, which works to educate and inspire the young girls of Africa. Kidjo is also known for her creative music videos, like the Tron-like visuals in the video for her song “Batonga.” (See video below.) Most impressively however is her powerful voice and her band’s undeniable groove.

Kidjo’s new album with the Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg entitled “SINGS” comes out March 31. She will be performing April 23 at Scène Stabil Drill International from 9:45-11:00 p.m.