Angelique Kidjo, the Benin born singer/songwriter is celebrating Sunday's win of her second "Best World Music Album" Grammy Award for her #1 charting 2014 album Eve, as well as the announcement of her new 429 Records album Sings. Produced by Kidjo and long-time production partner Jean Hebrail, Sings showcases Kidjo's collaboration with the 110 piece Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg, led by renowned conductor and composer Gast Waltzing. Kidjo reimagines nine classic songs from her 24 year repertoire and two new songs ("Otishe" and "Mamae" from the Eve sessions), blending European classical traditions with the powerful rhythmic sounds of her native West Africa. Along with the orchestra, Kidjo's additional players include Christian McBride and Massimo Biolcati on upright basses; Lionel Loueke, Dominic James and David Laborier on guitars; Magatte Sow, Crespin Tpikiti and Benoit Avihoue on percussion; Tuelo Kgobokoe Tsholofetso and Mokubung, background vocals; and Gast Waltzing, flugelhorn solo on "Samba Pa Ti." Angelique Kidjo's Sings will be released on 429 Records March 31st.
Kidjo's accolades include a 20 year discography, two Grammy Awards, thousands of concerts around the world and being named "Africa's premier diva" (Time Magazine) and "the undisputed Queen of African Music" (Daily Telegraph). In addition to winning the Grammy for Eve, Kidjo's 2008 recording Djin Djin won a Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album and her last studio recording Oyo was nominated in the same category. She has enjoyed a long history of notable collaborations with greats from the jazz and pop worlds—including Carlos Santana, Bono, John Legend, Josh Groban, Peter Gabriel, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove and Alicia Keys. In an expansive career marked as much by extraordinary musical achievement as passionate advocacy and philanthropy for her homeland of Africa, Angelique Kidjo has found many ways to celebrate the rich, enlightening truth about the continent's women beyond the media spotlight.
Says Kidjo: "The orchestra brings different textures to my life and music. Unlike in pop music, the orchestra doesn't follow you, it leads and dares you to follow it. If you don't do this successfully, the songs suffer and the communication is lost. But I love the challenge of doing new things. I never want to get too comfortable with what I'm doing, and I love my work too much to repeat myself."
Sings track listing:
7) Petite Fleur
8) Samba Pa Ti