Hailing from Benin, the singer Angélique Kidjo (1960, Cotonou) is ‘Africa’s most important diva’ according to Time Magazine, which recently included her in its overview of the 100 most influential people. The BBC featured the four-time Grammy winner on a list of the 50 most iconic figures from the continent, and The Guardian called her one of the 100 most inspiring women in the world. Kidjo is known for her wide-ranging work. She effortlessly mixes West African influences with elements from North American R&B, funk and jazz from Europe and Latin America. Her musical interests range from pop and jazz to French chansons and classical music. After leaving Benin around 1980, she has lived and worked alternatingly in France and the United States. She sings in English, French and Yoruba and works with a variety of artists like the Kronos Quartet, Alicia Keys, Bono, Philip Glass, Ziggy Marley, Youssou N'Dour and Questlove. Her latest album Mother Nature features collaborations with young African stars like Burna Boy and Yemi Alade.
Together with Nicolas Stemann, Angélique Kidjo is this year’s Holland Festival associate artist. Kidjo, commenting on her role as an associate artist: ‘This role is very exciting for me. I have spent my entire career building bridges between different cultures, different styles of music and different generations, showcasing the depth and the beauty of African songs. I feel the Holland Festival is the perfect place to extend that work to various art forms and to bring an African perspective to the table at a time when we are discovering how intertwined our lives are.’