Opening performance Holland Festival 2022

Mother Nature

Angélique Kidjo, Yemi Alade, Zeynab Abib, Blue Lab Beats, Ghetto Boy, Jeangu Macrooy

Last tickets available at the boxoffice Carré

Angélique Kidjo is aiming to achieve something with her new, Grammy Award winning album Mother Nature: 'I want this record to inspire people to think about their connection to mother nature, and how dear this Earth is to us'.

Angélique Kidjo builds bridges and has a great stage presence. She feels at home in all kinds of different cultures and musical styles, which in her eyes are all interconnected, or at any rate capable of being connected. Everywhere she goes she connects with the people and their music. She effortlessly fuses West African traditions with North American influences like R&B, funk and jazz.

Last tickets available at the boxoffice Carré

Angélique Kidjo is aiming to achieve something with her new, Grammy Award winning album Mother Nature: 'I want this record to inspire people to think about their connection to mother nature, and how dear this Earth is to us'.

Angélique Kidjo builds bridges and has a great stage presence. She feels at home in all kinds of different cultures and musical styles, which in her eyes are all interconnected, or at any rate capable of being connected. Everywhere she goes she connects with the people and their music. She effortlessly fuses West African traditions with North American influences like R&B, funk and jazz.

Kidjo, who is also a UNICEF ambassador and card-carrying world citizen, addresses major themes with Mother Nature. She sings not just about the impending climate crisis but also about other important social themes like racial inequality. She increasingly aims to impact younger generations.

For this album, she worked with a range of young African artists. A number of them, Zeynab Abib, Blue Lab Beats & Ghetto Boy and Yemi Alade will join her on stage at the Holland Festival, where the Surinamese-Dutch Jeangu Macrooy will join the music party as well.

Read less

dates

Fri June 3 8:00 PM

Sat June 4 8:00 PM

Prices

  • default from € 25
  • HF Young € 20
  • CJP/student € 15

language & duration

  • 1 hour 50 minutes (zonder pauze)

Video recordings will be made during the June 4 performance.

Background
Over the last three decades, Angélique Kidjo has cemented her status as one of the most singular and extraordinary voices in international music, inspiring countless artists with her ingenuity, eclecticism, and seemingly boundless creative spirit. On her new album Mother Nature, she joins forces with many of her musical progeny, including some of the most captivating young creators of West African music, Afrobeat, Afro-pop, dancehall, hip-hop, and alt-R&B. The result is rooted in a deep understanding of musical tradition yet forward-thinking and inventive. Some of these artists will join her on the Holland Festival stage.


Mother Nature
fulfills a promise Kidjo made after winning one of her Grammy Awards: ‘The new generation of artists coming from Africa are going to take you by storm, and the time has come.’ The album was sparked from a newly heightened awareness of her own musical legacy: ‘For many years I was mostly just focused on creating music that makes me happy and that’s true to who I am, but over time I started to realize the impact that my songs have had on the younger generations. This album came from thinking about how we can build from that, and start pushing things forward together.’ To that end, Mother Nature confronts such pressing issues as racial inequity and the climate crisis, once again proving the longtime activist’s rare power to transform complex subject matter into music that’s radiantly joyful.

Video recordings will be made during the June 4 performance.

Background
Over the last three decades, Angélique Kidjo has cemented her status as one of the most singular and extraordinary voices in international music, inspiring countless artists with her ingenuity, eclecticism, and seemingly boundless creative spirit. On her new album Mother Nature, she joins forces with many of her musical progeny, including some of the most captivating young creators of West African music, Afrobeat, Afro-pop, dancehall, hip-hop, and alt-R&B. The result is rooted in a deep understanding of musical tradition yet forward-thinking and inventive. Some of these artists will join her on the Holland Festival stage.


Mother Nature
fulfills a promise Kidjo made after winning one of her Grammy Awards: ‘The new generation of artists coming from Africa are going to take you by storm, and the time has come.’ The album was sparked from a newly heightened awareness of her own musical legacy: ‘For many years I was mostly just focused on creating music that makes me happy and that’s true to who I am, but over time I started to realize the impact that my songs have had on the younger generations. This album came from thinking about how we can build from that, and start pushing things forward together.’ To that end, Mother Nature confronts such pressing issues as racial inequity and the climate crisis, once again proving the longtime activist’s rare power to transform complex subject matter into music that’s radiantly joyful.

Personal and political

A song revealing Kidjo’s gift for gracefully merging the personal and political, Mother Nature’s title track emerges as a groove-heavy call to action against climate change (‘Mother Nature has a way of warning us/A time bomb set on a lost countdown/Do you hear it, will you stop it, won’t you listen?’). ‘I want this record to inspire people to think about their connection to Mother Nature, and how dear this Earth is to us,’ says Kidjo, who penned the track with her husband/collaborator Jean Hébrail and songwriter Jennifer Decilveo. ‘Without nature, we don’t exist—it nurtures us, it nourishes us, and it does that with absolutely no judgement. And even though nature is under attack from our industries, She’s still always so generous.’

Dignity

For the song ‘Dignity’, Kidjo pairs up with Nigerian singer/songwriter Yemi Alade for a powerful anthem inspired by the youth-led movement to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (aka SARS, an infamously corrupt unit in the Nigerian Police Force). In bringing the soul-stirring track to life, Alade worked off a demo of Kidjo’s and added her first-hand perspective as an activist directly involved with the anti-SARS effort. ‘Many people think that police brutality only happens in America, but it’s everywhere,’ says Kidjo. ‘This song is against brutality, but it’s also about how we need to treat each other with dignity, treat nature with dignity, and treat ourselves with dignity.’

In her glorious push to galvanize her audience into fighting for a brighter world, Kidjo also delivers such powerhouse tracks as ‘Do Yourself,’ that arose in a fiery collaboration with Grammy Award winning Nigerian singer/songwriter/rapper Burna Boy. ‘The idea behind this song is that if we don’t fix our continent, no one’s going to fix it for us,’ says Kidjo. ‘We’re the ones who need to put in the work to create a better future for everyone.’ With its luminous textures and visceral percussion, ‘Do Yourself’ draws much of its impact from the palpable chemistry the two musicians first displayed on ‘Different’ (a cut from Burna Boy’s 2019 album African Giant, also featuring Damian Marley). ‘There’s something so crazy and infectious about all of Burna Boy’s grooves,’ notes Kidjo. ‘They take your head from south to north, and that’s exactly what I like.’

Independence

Other songs on the album, like Take It Or Leave It and Free and Equal take inspiration from the Declaration of Independence - the idea that all people are created equal - and the Black Lives Matter movement. The song Africa, using a sample from Salif Keita’s song Africa, refers to the 60th anniversary of 17 African countries gaining independence from France. ‘This happened just two weeks after I was born. The question the song is asking is, ‘Are we really independent?’’

For Kidjo, the making of Mother Nature provided a much-needed lifeline in the midst of the pandemic. ‘The togetherness, the sisterhood, the humanity I felt from all these collaborations gave me so much strength,’ she says. ‘Somehow the fact that we weren’t in the same room brought even more urgency to the performance and reminded us that — if we want to get back to some normalcy — we need everyone to sing and dance.’ And in sharing the album with the world, Kidjo hopes that her songs might inspire the kind of togetherness that ultimately leads to transcendent change. ‘This album is a love letter to Mother Earth and all the values we hold dear: truth, trust, love, connection,’ says Kidjo. ‘If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that we are all a part of the same ecosystem—this planet is all we have. For our own survival, we need to recognize the humanity that we all share and learn how to live together. There’s just no other way.’

Read less
  • © Fabrice Mabillot (Angélique Kidjo)

  • © Rinse Fokkema (Jeangu Macrooy)

  • Bolodjo Plus - Zeynab Abib

    © Zeynab Abib

  • © Blue Lab Beats

Meet Angélique Kidjo

Meet Angélique Kidjo

The French-Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo is associate artist of this year’s Holland Festival, together with theatre director Nicolas Stemann. Shows to be featured at the festival in June are Mother Nature, Yemandja and Ifé.

Watch our conversation with Angélique here and click here to read a conversation about her work and motivations.