Anjelique Kidjo - Cambridge Folk Festival 2012 review
'An infectious exuberance'
30 July 2012
Listed by the BBC as one of Africa’s 50 most iconic figures, Angélique Kidjo’s warm
and powerful voice fills every corner of the stage as she stalks about with the grace and poise of a jaguar. Confident and
rhythmic, the diminutive singer from Benin has a powerful stage presence and an infectious exuberance that is instantly transmitted
to her foot tapping crowd.
Swaying, eyes closed, she treats us to an indignant, soulful rendition and by the third song, has well and truly warmed up. Grape-vining across the stage, she reveals a thigh high split in her traditional dress.
This is a set as much about theatre as it is music – Kidjo is a performer with boundless energy and enthusiasm, marking out the stage territory as her own. Vibrant, bold, and hip-swayingly addictive, Kidjo has the crowd delightfully bopping and clapping to her music. She is a musician you simply cannot help but smile widely at, no matter your mood.
Kidjo songs are a rich melting pot of different cultures and traditions. Flinging off her turban with a defiant flourish, she reveals a short blonde crop, ruffling it enthusiastically as she side-steps across the stage. Her work is a fragrant, flamboyant historical mosaic that would rather break tradition than conform to outdated notions. This is a gutsy, tribal act that brings a slice of African sunshine to a soggy, muddy Cambridgeshire afternoon.
Kidjo uses music as a vehicle for change, and is a tireless campaigner for women’s rights as well as a UNICEF Peace Ambassador. Her messages are those of hope, equality and peace. This is a woman who believes vehemently in the power of music, and indeed change.
-- Meg Roberts
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