Angélique Kidjo has been travelling the world since 1982 on a mission to get Afro-pop the mainstream recognition it deserves and her efforts have resulted in huge success. She has now released her take on the Talking Heads’ album, ‘Remain In Light’, including the classic single, ‘Once In A Lifetime’.
From the West African country of Benin, three-time Grammy winner and “undisputed queen of African music”, according to her fans, Kidjo has had an amazing career, working with Ziggy Marley, Alicia Keys, and the Dave Matthews Band, among others. She was also awarded the prestigious Crystal Award in 2015 by the World Economic Forum, as well as the 2016 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award. She’s put in 36 years of dedication and hard work, and as a result, both in entertainment and outside of it, she is one of the most influential women in the world.
Angélique has created a song-for-song remake of ‘Remain In Light’, an album which has had a special place in her heart since she first heard it in 1983, when she was fleeing communist Benin for Paris. She later told the Los Angeles Times,
“I went to school and I said, ‘Do you guys know this song?’ and they said, ‘Yeah, of course — it’s a huge hit,’…. I said, ‘From Africans?’ ‘No, an American white band. Rock and roll.’ I said, ‘That’s not rock and roll — that’s African music.'”
The song which affected her most was ‘Once In A Lifetime’, a track which reflected how much Talking Heads were influenced by Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti.
Produced by Jeff Bhasker, known for his work with Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Fun, and Harry Styles, ‘Remain In Light’ features appearances from Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend, Blood Orange, Afrobeat legendary artist Tony Allen, Anti Balas Horns, and Kidjo’s longtime collaborators, Dominic James, and Magatte Sow – the latter the percussionist on the score for Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’.
Angélique’s rendition of ‘Once In A Lifetime’ reminds us whys he has had a career more successful than most musicians would dream of having. The video starts out with three workers in their office break room, entranced by their electronic devices. Magically Angelique Kidjo pops up on their screens, singing. Within seconds, they’re all caught up, wildly dancing to the African rhythms, infectious vibes, and upbeat nature of the song.
Find out more about Angélique Kidjo online on her official website.