Presented by Learning From Performers and Harvard Department of Music
Praised as “the undisputed queen of African Music” (Daily Telegraph) and honored for her activism on behalf of human rights and female empowerment, Angélique Kidjo has released ten albums, including last year’s Grammy Award-winning “Eve.” She will lead a master class for student singers co-sponsored by the Department of Music; and also deliver the Louis C. Elson Lecture sponsored by the Department of Music on November 17.
Grammy award-winning singer, activist, and humanitarian Angélique Kidjo electrifies audiences around the world with the strength of her voice, the power of her words, and the intensity of her performance. “Spirit Rising,” Kidjo’s memoir, embodies her vibrant personality with, as Elle Magazine described, “a dramatic soulful mix of text, photos, and song lyrics.” One of The Guardian’s 100 most inspiring women in the world, Kidjo is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and has written op-eds for CNN and The New York Times.
Kidjo hails from the West African country of Benin, where she began performing at age six. When Communists took over the country and challenged Kidjo’s freedom of artistic expression, she fled to France, and later, New York City.
Success soon followed. “Logozo,” her breakthrough album, hit #1 on the Billboard World Music Charts and sold more than 40,000 copies. She topped Billboard again in 2014 with her Grammy-winning album, “Eve.” With sold-out performances around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Kidjo has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Bono, Peter Gabriel, and Philip Glass, and has been personally requested to perform by President Barack Obama.
Since 2002, Kidjo has worked with UNICEF, raising awareness for such causes as gender equality, education, and conservation. She was presented with the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award from the Synergos Institute in 2015 and founded The Batonga Foundation in 2007. The Foundation provides secondary education to girls across Africa and empowers the female leaders of tomorrow. Opening the 2015 World Economic Forum at Davos, Kidjo received the Crystal Award, which celebrates individuals who improve the state of the world through art.
Kidjo has performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show.” Sir David Frost, Christine Amanpour, and Bill Moyers have all interviewed her, and BBC has named Kidjo one of Africa’s 50 most iconic figures.
Angélique Kidjo has been named the Louis C. Elson Lecturer, Eileen Southern Distinguished Visitor, and Blodgett Distinguished Artist in Residence sponsored by the Department of Music. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies.
Support for this program generously provided by the Bernard H. and Mildred Kayden Artist in Residence Fund.