Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo – or Angélique Kidjo – is one Africa’s greatest voices and my favorite singer. Last night we had the great fortune to experience her and her band live at Durham’s Hayti Heritage Center. Plus … a guest appearance of none other than Branford Marsalis. Yes, that Branford Marsalis. The jazz giant and greatest living saxophonist.
The Hayti is an old church and a very intimate venue and Angelique and her crew rocked that place solid for 2 hours, non-stop. And toward the end, she invited her old friend Branford on stage. Angelique and Branford go waaaay back – they met in Paris in 1991 when Angelique was recording her album Logozo with Island Records and she met Branford and apparently she told him something along the lines of “I hear you’re a pretty good sax player. I am recording a song tomorrow. I want you to play sax in that song. And if you suck – $^(% you!” Apparently she approved of his sax skills and he liked her attitude and they have been friends ever since.
Toward the end of the set, Angélique invited the audience on stage to dance while the band – and Marsalis – were jamming! So a couple dozen people (incl. Laura and Agbessi) ended up dancing on stage with Angélique, who seemed to really enjoy the mayhem! Great show, and great start for her 2014 U.S tour.
Update: Christiane Amanpour interviews Angélique Kidjo (CNN, Feb 4th, 2014)