Beninese-born singer Angelique Kidjo, one of Africa’s most prominent musicians, won her third Grammy on Monday and dedicated it to aspiring artistes on the continent.
Ghanaian musician, Rocky Dawuni, who was also nominated, lost on his bid to become the first Ghanaian and African to win the Best Reggae Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
The ‘African Thriller’ performer lost out to band Morgan Heritage. Jah Cure, Barrington Levy and Luciano were also vying for the same award.
The Beninese-born singer won the Grammy for Best World Music Album for ‘Sings’, a collection of her songs infused with Western classical traditions, in collaboration with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg.
This is the second straight year that Kidjo has won the Best World Music Album prize, after last year’s ‘Eve’ that paid tribute to African women. A visibly happy Kidjo, dressed in a colourful African dress, ran to the stage to accept the award and danced to James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’, performed by a pit orchestra.
“I want to dedicate this Grammy to all the traditional musicians in Africa, in my country, to all the young generation,” Kidjo said.
“Africa is on the rise, Africa is positive, Africa is joyful,” she said. “Let’s get together and be one with music, and say no to hate and violence,” she said to applause.
The album merges African songwriting and rhythms with European classical instrumentation, a fusion on which Kidjo has repeatedly experimented. Kidjo described the album as an artistic challenge as traditional African bands follow the lead of the soloist much more closely, unlike Western orchestras that generally play off refined scores.
Kidjo, who is based in New York and plans another concert at Carnegie Hall in the upcoming season, said she was open to further work with artistes of other genres.
“I work with everyone who believes that music is the tool of peace. For me, music is the only form of art that connects the entire world,” she told AFP after accepting the award.
The event was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in the United States of America and was hosted by LL Cool J.