Penn Live Arts Blog

World music superstar Angélique Kidjo remains active on the virtual stage

Posted April 30, 2020

Penn Live Arts Recommends World Music

Chart-topping world music superstar Angélique Kidjo shone radiantly when she performed in the Zellerbach Theatre back in February (co-presented by World Café Live) and she remains a beacon of light since then, participating in multiple projects that push her incredible artistry out into the virtual space for us all to enjoy. This busy, four-time Grammy® Award winner recently performed on the new online series Live with Carnegie Hall, along with Nigerian Afropop star Yemi Alade, Senegalese singer-guitarist Baaba Maal, and another recent Annenberg Center performer, jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. The session was moderated by John Schaefer of WNYC. 

Kidjo also performed Bella Bellow’s “Blewu” with Yo-Yo Ma as part of his #SongsofComfort series, appeared on the Rolling Stone series “In My Room,” and, at the request of UNICEF, recorded a new version of Miriam Makeba’s iconic “Pata Pata,” reworked to convey critical messages about COVID-19.

Time Magazine has called Kidjo “Africa's premier diva” and the BBC has included her in its list of the continent's 50 most iconic figures. She is the recent recipient of the prestigious 2015 Crystal Award given by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and the 2016 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award. As a performer, Kidjo has cross-pollinated the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America, winning respect from her peers and expanding her following across international borders.  

To learn more about what’s keeping Kidjo busy these days visit her website at