[ Concerts ]

Angélique Kidjo to perform benefit concert at Yale Dec. 6

Concert by Grammy Award-winning singer is presented by the Yale School of Music in partnership with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas
October 22, 2014

KidjoThe Yale School of Music, in partnership with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, will present Afro-pop star ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO in a special benefit concert on Saturday, December 6, 2014. The Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, hailed by National Public Radio as “Africa’s greatest living diva,” will perform with ensembles including Shades, the Yale Percussion Group, and members of the Yale Concert Band.

Ms. Kidjo, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2002, is a passionate advocate for girls’ education and humanitarian causes. “Being Africa’s premier diva is not a crown that Kidjo wears lightly,” notes Time Magazine. “As an African, she says, she comes from a place with problems. But as a musician, she argues, she can solve them.”

Proceeds from this collaborative concert will benefit the Yale Africa Initiative Student Scholarships. The concert takes place at 3:00 pm in Woolsey Hall (500 College Street, New Haven). 

Angélique Kidjo is the founder of the Batonga Foundation, which supports both secondary school and higher education for girls in Africa. “Young people are the hope of my continent,” she has said. “When I watch the children of Africa, all dreams seem possible.” For her advocacy, Kidjo has been named among the “Forty Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa” by Forbes Magazine, one of fifty African icons by the BBC, and among the world’s 100 most inspiring women by the Guardian.

Kidjo, who grew up in Benin, is fluent in four languages—French, English, Yorùbá, and Fon—and sings in all four. NPR notes, “The power of Kidjo’s unflappable voice, the range of her emotional expression, the stellar, genre-bending musicians who back her and the infectious, activist energy that courses through her songs all transcend any native tongue.”

Ms. Kidjo has won a number of music awards, including the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music for her album Djin Djin. Her newest album, Eve, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard World Music charts. In August 2008, she received Benin’s Commander of National Order of Merit for loyal services to the nation.

Shades is Yale’s co-ed a cappella group dedicated to singing music of the Africa diaspora. The Yale Percussion Group, made up of graduate students in the School of Music, and the undergraduate Yale Concert Band are fresh off a musical tour of Ghana this past summer, where they took part in numerous exchange concerts and the percussionists studied West African rhythms with Ghanaian drum masters.

Tickets to the benefit concert are $15–25, $5 for students with valid ID, and are available at the Yale School of Music box office (Sprague Hall, 435 College Street), 203 432-4158 or online. BUY TICKETS

Visionary Leadership Award

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas will present its fifth annual Visionary Leadership Award to Ms. Kidjo on January 28, 2015, and this December 6 concert is part of a series of residency activities with Ms. Kidjo, including the Visionary Leadership Award and related events in January, through the Arts & Ideas festival in June 2015. Activities will include conversations and meet-and-greet opportunities with members of the New Haven community, as well as additional performance events during the June festival. Details about performances and events will be announced at a later date.

The Festival’s annual Visionary Leadership Award honors a leader whose trailblazing work is changing the world, and connects the Festival’s Ideas programs to every day impacts on the community. The program includes an award benefit luncheon, as well as opportunities for the entire community to engage with Ms. Kidjo’s extraordinary work. Previous recipients have included Sheila Nevins, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Jill Abramson, and Zainab Salbi.

Residency Activities

December 6, 2014
Angelique Kidjo in concert
Yale School of Music in partnership with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas
With the Yale Concert Band, Yale Percussion Group, and other Yale ensembles

January 28, 2015
Visionary Leadership Award honoring Angelique Kidjo
Presented by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas
Award luncheon; Master’s Tea at 4 pm at Ezra Stiles College

June 2015
International Festival of Arts & Ideas
Residency and events to be announced

About Angélique Kidjo

Angélique Kidjo’s music is rooted in the traditional and contemporary music of her home country, Benin. It is her love for other genres of music that have led her to international fame, though, as her use of jazz and pop influences in her music have made her accessible to people from all over the globe. She sings in four languages and has worked with many of the world’s finest musicians, including Joss Stone, Peter Gabriel and Ziggy Marley.

Kidjo began to achieve success as a solo musician in her early 20s, but her career really took off when she joined the European jazz-funk-African fusion band Pili Pili as the lead singer in the mid-1980s. After touring extensively with that group for several years, a revived attempt at a solo career proved successful with both critics and fans, and eventually led to major international fame.

In 2002, Angelique Kidjo was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF, and used her voice and her influence to reach people worldwide to discuss some of the major issues affecting the people of Africa: the spread of HIV/AIDS, poverty and hunger, and conflict and war in places such as Darfur. Kidjo has also started her own foundation, the Batonga Foundation, to help fund and support education for young girls in Africa.
» www.kidjo.com

The article was updated Dec. 2.


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