Angelique Kidjo Narration, Copy, and Music (Artist and Title)



“Jazz and Jazz Stories”

Downloadable version of this page: Angelique Kidjo Narration and Text 4 new master

March 21, 2019

OLLI

Bob Danziger

Copy:

Produced by Bob Danziger

Please turn off and put away recording devices of any kind.

Much of the material in this video was provided on condition it be used for use for in-class educational purposes only. The video may not be posted to the web or otherwise distributed and/or copied.

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Produced for the OLLI Class

“Jazz and Jazz Stories”

Bob Danziger

March 2019

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Angelique Kidjo

Appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2010 and 2017

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Music:  Angelique Kidjo – Zelle

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Copy:

“My ancestors on my father’s side came from the village of Ouidah, not far from the Atlantic Ocean, and just a few dozen miles from Cotonou.   My family are descendants of the Pedah, a tribe of fishermen who cast their nets all along the magnificent, immaculate beach that goes on for miles and miles.”[1]

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 Benin

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Narration:

[Interviewer] “And to your first time performing on stage . . .  can you tell us about that?”

Angelique Kidjo: “Oh wow, that was the freaking experience ever.  The first time I experienced the expression all your bones is shaking in your body, and you can hear gu-tak-taka-tak-eh-uh.   Hey, I’m like this is kind of cool.  I have the light in front of me, I can hardly see anyone.   Only one spotlight in the whole theater, and it was on me.    So I’m like, nobody sees me, I can goof around, can sing my song, and get the hell out of here.”[2]

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Picture Caption: “Communion day with my brother Alfred and Mirelle”

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Narration:

Interviewer: “What is the song you sang” [3]

Music:  Angelique Kidjo – Atcha Houn

 

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Copy:

About this time Angelique’s brothers started a band to play music from the Jackson 5, James Brown and the Temptations.

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Music:  Jackson 5 – I Want You Back

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Narration:

Angelique Kidjo:  “There have been two moments in my life that first one I didn’t even know the impact it has before the second one arrived.  When I first saw the cover of Jimi Hendrix on an album, his big afro, and my brother was trying to wear the afro wig, too.  He said, “I want to look like him, I want to play like him and sound like him.”

I say, “By the way I wanted to ask you, what is this language he is singing, I don’t understand nothing, he looks African but it is not an African language I can recognize.  He says, “No, he is not African, he is African-American.”  I look at him like, yeah-right.  I’m 9, and . . . . .  How can be African and American at the same time?  He said, “He’s a slave descendant.”  I say what is a slave?  What is a descendant?  What’s going on here? “[4]

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Copy:

“Ouidah holds a tragic place in history. It was from there that so many slaves were forced to leave their continent for the Americas.”[5]

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Narration:

“So I went to ask my grandmother and she starts to tell me the story of slavery, and I’m “nah, you losing your mind.  I didn’t believe it.  And then when I turned 15, for the first time I heard about apartheid, when I saw Winnie Mandela on the Nigerian TV. . . .     It’s just like, your whole world collapse.  Because you are living in a family, in a household, where you are taught by your parents that a human being is not a matter of color.  Cause we are one human family.  And then suddenly, both of them, my nine years old story, and African story, just collide.  It’s just like an explosion in my life.  And I get so angry.” [6]

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Music: Bella Bellow – Blewu

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Copy:

“I guess the blood of the Dahomey Amazons, the all-woman army created by King Agadja in the eighteenth century, was running in my veins.

Both of my grandmothers were widowed at thirty-five and both refused to remarry, choosing to build their own businesses instead. This was unheard of in their day.”[7]

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Music: Sylvie Vartan  – La plus belle pour aller danser

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Narration:

Angelique Kidjo: “Grounded in greatness, in goodness, in loving yourself and giving back what I been giving to you.  We can create a better world.  And I think that’s the coolest thing I learned from Celia [Cruz}, from Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin and Bella Bellow.  I mean all those women have given a lot of their life away for us to have the music that we have today.”[8]

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Copy:

“Yvonne, my mother.  Her passion was theatre.”

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Music: Nina Simone – I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free

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Music:  Aretha Franklin – You Make Me Feel

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Copy:

But few people have had comparable impact on Angelique as  Miriam Makeba

In 1961 Miriam Makeba appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival

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Narration:

Miriam Makeba: “My records have been banned since 1962.  In South Africa they don’t play them anymore.  People who have them just have to play them privately and hope that nobody that shouldn’t hear them, hears them.   And, even though they are banned, there are some people who still sing them somehow, somewhere.[9]

Miriam Makeba’s records were banned in South Africa the next year.

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Music:  Miriam Makeba – The Retreat Song

Music: Miriam Makeba – Pata Pata  (Ed Sullivan Show. 1967)

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Narration:

Angelique Kidjo: “We shared so much together.  When you decide to leave unwillingly your country, you give away so much.   Things you give away, it’s not even . . .   you can’t even start to explain it.  And she has lost everything in exile, because her Mom means the world to her.   When her Mom passed away   apartheid was still on – she couldn’t go.[10]

I was on the verge of dropping singing, and Miriam Makeba came in to my life.  And she brought me back to life.  Because I said to myself: she’s an African woman having an international career.  And I will be the same.  If she can, I surely can.”[11]

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Music: Ekambi Brillant -Minya ma bobé (1990)

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Copy:

Angelique went on her first significant tour with Ekambi Brillant. His music was inspired by the artists of Stax Records and by James Brown—he even wore a cape like Brown. They performed to packed houses all over West Africa.[12]

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Wall Caption:

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

 

“Nothing Against the Louvre

But you can’t dance to da Vinci.”

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Copy:

“There was such a mixture of genres on the radio we used to listen to. That freedom suddenly vanished after the Marxist coup d’état of 1972 and gradually the radio in Benin became propaganda radio.

The slogan of the revolution played constantly. . .  after the coup it was compulsory to say those words to every person you met in the street, even a stranger, before starting any conversation.”[13]

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“Since the Communists had been in power, the cultural independence of the radio stations in Benin had disappeared.

Before, they could broadcast the music of Johnny Pacheco or of Jimi Hendrix, the traditional songs, or Congolese and Cameroonian bands. We would listen to the intricate high-pitched guitars of Franco Luambo and Tabu Ley Rochereau, the masters of soukous, and to the funky sounds of Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa.” “[14]

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Music: Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa.”

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Copy:

“As a family we made the decision that I should leave [for Paris and stay with her brother].

For work I did babysitting and sometimes cleaned rooms in one of the Ibis hotels right next to the Périphérique, the highway ringing Paris. But mostly I worked in a hair salon specialized for people from Africa and the West Indies on the Boulevard de Sébastopol.”[15]

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Angelique’s husband, Jean Hébrail, also attended Paris’ CIM School of Music.   They married in 1987.

Jean previously studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, and had switched to studying jazz and playing the bass.[16]

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They met in Paris”at the glorious Fête de la Musique celebration, at the bar on rue Doudeauville . . .

“We were playing side by side —my voice floating out over Jean’s gently insistent bass line on “Cry Me a River,” “Green Dolphin Street,” and “God Bless the Child.”

At the end of the concert, our eyes met.”[17]

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“Our first date was when I asked friends to help me move from the

apartment in Antony to a tiny place I had found on Boulevard Ornano.

Everybody said yes, but Jean was the only one who showed up.

He also couldn’t believe it when I carried my huge moving boxes on my head as we do in Africa—for seven floors.”[18]

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“We would spend hours listening to Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Weather Report.”[19]

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“The album Tutu by Miles was the main soundtrack of our life.”[20]

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“I brought Jean to Benin. When my mom met Jean, she took me aside in our little courtyard and told me, “Your husband needs to stay in the shade all day.  Of all the white men in the world, you picked the whitest.””[21]

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Daughter Naima

March, 1993

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“When I first saw Naïma, right away she looked around with a face that said, Hello, here I am. And she had so much hair!  Naïma was born with six fingers on each hand.”[22]

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Music: John Coltrane – Naima

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Narration:

“I was very close to my father.  You grow up and all you have taken for granted, you realize that he has actually been really progressive in your life.  Because he fought for all of us to go to school, boys and girls equally. “[23]

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Caption:

Naima as a child: “I really love this song, Mama.  I have to sing it with you.”

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Narration:

“Even though the family was asking him to withdraw his girls from school to get them married.  My father was, like. No.  They are not merchandises.  They are human beings.  They want to make a living, they want to live a life – is their choice.  And when he passed away it’s like something just – I grew up. “[24]

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Copy:

When he died they were listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations.[25]

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Narration:

“I grew up in the pain, because I was not expecting him to die.  And I start reliving all the memories, the good times, that’s how we mourn.”[26]

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Copy:

IN 2015 Naima graduated from Yale University and they awarded Angelique an Honorary Doctorate on the same day.  Angelique has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Berkelee School of Music, and was Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University.

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Narration:

“You can’t sit here and tell me that you can’t make a change.  My Father was an African man.  He fought against traditions that could have his children.  He put all of us to school, that’s why I am here before you today.  If one man in Africa is able to achieve all that my Father has achieved, none of you can sit in this chair and go back home and tell me you are proud of being a man when you can’t stand up for nothing.”[27]

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Copy:

Angelique’s father was a postman.

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Advocacy

Narration:

Angelique Kidjo:   “Secondary education is a game changer in Africa.  Because when girls stay 3 years in secondary education they will not go back and marry an old man that their father have chosen for them.  When you educate girls with a secondary education, not only does the GDP of the country rises, you reduce child mortality drastically, you reduce sexual violence, abuse of any sort because those girls know their rights.

And you start creating wealth.  Because the women in Africa, when they have money they invest in their family, in their community, and their country.  And it’s proven today that if you give secondary education and tertiary education to women the GDP of the country will rise up.

That’s where the danger is for group like Boko Haram because if you educate women, you educate men, you educate the village, you educate everything the component of what make a society stable.”[28]

 

Angelique Kidjo: ‘Africa is not just diseases’; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSeMvTe_ASU

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Copy:

  • Secondary Education for Girls, especially in Africa.
  • Ending Child Marriage
  • Ending Female Genital Mutilation
  • HIV/AIDS and other health issues
  • Ending Poverty
  • Fair Trade
  • Nelson Mandela Foundation
  • Promoting African Culture
  • Sustainable Development
  • Ending Racism

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Recent Music Projects

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Narration:

“You can bring more to your own culture by being open.  I’ve always been open to every different culture.  That’s what makes me rich.  That’s what makes me the artist that I am.  Because I really don’t care the skin color you have, the language that you speak.  When it comes to music I am at the service of the song, and that’s how it should be.[29]

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Copy:

“This album is dedicated to the women of Africa in their resilience & their beauty”[30]

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Music: Angelique Kidjo – Orisha

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Narration:

NPR Interviewer:  “As the 1970’s drew to a close Talking Heads had emerged as one of the most exciting American bands in years.  By then, though, the band was looking to go in a radical new direction.  That direction was more than 5,000 miles away in Nigeria. “

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Music: Fela Kuti – Pansa Pansa

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“That’s the music of Fela Kuti.  His sound came to be known around the world as Afrobeat.  And its rhythmic complexity inspired Talking Heads to produce their landmark 1980 album “Remain in Light.”

Meanwhile, a young woman originally from Benin, just west of Nigeria,  heard that record.  She recognized that the familiar refrains of Afrobeat.  Her name was Angelique Kidjo.  She later became popular all over the world for her own music.  And now she has chosen to record her version of “Remain in Light,”  stripping away the New Wave and performing as if it really had been conceived in West Africa.

Angelique Kidjo spoke to David Green about how she first came to hear this music.”

Angelique Kidjo:  “I discovered this album when I arrive in Paris in 1983 because in the middle of the 70’s we have the communist dictatorship that took place in Benin, and suddenly the radio that we used to listen to Fela, listen to the Beatles, listen to all kind of music, becomes a place of darkness.  Every morning you wake up you hear “ready for the revolution the fight continues.”  You eat that up from morning to the evening, goes back in circle.  [interviewer: hmmm]

And when I arrive in Paris, actually, I was determined to catch up with music I didn’t have [that you had missed].  I became a music junkie.  And I went to a party with some friends of mine, and somebody was playing the song of the Talking Heads, called “Once in a Lifetime.”

And everybody was standing, dancing [..], me I was grooving in it, and I told them this is African music.  And they go “Hell no.”  This Rock ‘n Roll.  You African are not sophisticated enough to do this kind of music.  I say all right  – – – “

[Interviewer] “What? They were telling you you’re not hearing what you think you’re hearing?”

“Yeah, yeah.  It’s OK, but I’m like OK.  You don’t know but I mean at that point I already having so many racist comment about how not human beings we were, that we ride on the back of elephant to go buy my grocery.  All those kind of stupid stuff in the 80’s.  And I was very shocked and taken aback because I grew up in a household where I have access to books, education, music, it really feed my inspiration to open my world, and the world to them, and say, “You don’t know.””[31]

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Music: Angelique Kidjo version of Once in a Lifetime

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Copy:

“There’s also one ritual I always do: I iron my outfit for the stage myself, like a skydiver who has to fold his own parachute.”[32]

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Monterey Jazz Festival 2017

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Music: Angelique Kidjo and Pedrito Martinez – Hey Mama

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Narration:

Pedrito Martinez:  “Angelique is someone I love to play with her.  She really inspire me.  She has a beautiful energy.  She’s a […], man.  She can dance, she can play, she can show you like a rhythmic idea in the middle of the concert.  She’s amazing.  She’s a very unique.  You know she’s not from Cuba, but she’s from Africa.  And we have huge, you know huge – we represent Africa in Cuba.   You know, we have a big influence for African music in Cuba, as you know [speaking to Dan Ouellette].  Amazing, man.  I have no words to express my gratitude that I am part of this project.”[33]

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Copy:

In 2017 Angelique’s [and Pedrito Martinez’s] appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival was a tribute to Salsa and Celia Cruz

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“I loved jazz because it helped me understand the connections between classical music, pop, and African rhythms. I studied the way the musical notes flowed together.   I also studied its history and influence on popular culture.   I learned how jazzmen like Coltrane revered their African roots, and how a whole group of jazz musicians used African modes and signatures.”[34]

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Her full name is:

Angélique

Hounsinou

Kandjo

Manta

Zogbin-Kpasselokohinto

Kidjo

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PEACE

Angelique Kidjo