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posted 12/03/2019

REVIEW: Angélique Kidjo at The Sydney Opera House for International Women’s Day

Angélique Kidjo at The Sydney Opera House for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019

Reviewed by PJ from Dial Afrika.

Do you perhaps recall a show at the Domain some years ago during the Sydney Festival when Angelique Kidjo performed together with three other big name American jazz artists whose names escape me right now. The point I want to make is that Angelique stood out as a departure from the other artists in that she came across in a pointedly rocky style which included her walking into the huge crowd and got Sydney up and “Rocking”. Fast forward to her show at the Opera House last Friday for the International Women’s Day, it was more of the same and a great deal more, for her presentation and Australian premier of her latest project, the reinvention of Talking Head’s 1980 classic album “Remain In Light”.

There are of course other other Afrikan divas queueing up for Miriam Makeba’s, Mama Africa crown, but Grammy Award winner Angelique Kidjo stands at the top of the pecking order. With thirteen albums to her credit, her repertoire for the show included, Bathonga, Pata Pata, interspersed with Talking Heads songs from the album, flavoured with Afrobeat and Afro-jazz undertones, in clearly understated elegance and beautifully supported by an accomplished band made up of musicians from Afrika and the Afrikan diaspora.

With mic in hand she snaked her way through the audience for almost the entire show, stopping enroute to engage  with someone while the other 90percent were on their feet with arms waving in the air. Then came the “10” audience members on stage doing their own version of Afrikan dance and Kidjo showing them how. Then came the band members as well through the audience, and only after three encores and lights out did the overly satisfied audience accept that the show was finally over. Thank you Angelique, you are a legend and a Party Animal.

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