Angèlique Kidjo, brilliant Beninese-French singer celebrates her 63rd– year on earth with grace, wishing herself “Happy Birthday.

Real name, Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo, Angèlique was born on July 14th 1960.

 Kidjo was born into a family of performing artistes. Her father was a musician, and her mother worked as a choreographer and theatre director.

In 2007, Time magazine called her “Africa’s premier diva.” She performed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on July 23, 2021. 

On September 15, 2021, Time included her in their list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The Guardian has also listed her as one of its Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World and Kidjo is the first woman to be listed among “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” by Forbes magazine.

Her album Logozo is ranked number 37 in the Greatest Dance Albums of All Time list compiled by Vice magazine’s Thump website.

Kidjo is fluent in five languages: Fon, French, Yorùbá, Gen (Mina), and English.She sings in all of them, and she also has her own personal language, which includes words that serve as song titles such as “Batonga”. “Malaika” is a song sung in the Swahili language. Kidjo often uses Benin’s traditional Zilin vocal technique and vocalese.

Kidjo has won five Grammy Awards. She is a 2023 Polar Music Prize laureate.

Recently, the Beninese-French singer-songwriter, actress, and activist took to her social media pages to pay tribute one of the people whose music inspired her career, late music legend, Harry Belafonte.

“RIP @harrybelafonte You were the brightest star in every sense of that word. Your passion, your love, knowledge and respect for Africa was unlimited and unmatched.  You have helped and supported so many from Miriam Makeba to Martin Luther King and I am grateful for all the advices and all the love you gave me. Your wisdom made me strong and your music inspired me #harrybelafonte.” She noted.

Harry Belafonte was an American singer, actor, and activist, who popularized calypso music with international audiences in the 1950s and 60s. Belafonte earned his career breakthrough with the album Calypso (1956), which was the first million-selling LP by a single artist.

Belafonte found inspiration for his activism from such figures as singer Paul Robeson and scholar and activist W.E.B. Du Bois. After he met civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1950s, the two became good friends, and Belafonte emerged as a strong voice for the movement. He provided financial backing for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and participated in numerous rallies and protests. Belafonte helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, in which King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and again met with the civil rights leader shortly before King was assassinated in 1968.

During the mid-1960s, Belafonte also began supporting new African artists. He first met exiled South African artist Miriam Makeba, known as “Mama Africa,” in London in 1958, and together, they won a Grammy for Best Folk Recording for their 1965 album, An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba. He helped introduce her to international audiences and called attention to life under apartheid in South Africa.

Reacting to the post made by Angelique Kidjo, fans and lovers of the legend shared their memories of him.

Okere Alexander Yaw “My father’s love for his music runbed off on me since I was a kid and I loved to listen to his music anytime”

Sammy Adjiffon “You are a source of inspiration to me anytime I listen to your music. I was praying and thinking  I will meet you someday. May your soul rest in peace”.

Mary Nyachia “Rest in peace music legend… Thank you for your music which my late Dad introduced to us in our teens. It’s  Timeless, love it to this day.

Sunny Abumere Akhidenor “The great Harry Belafonte! You brought joy and happiness through your music to the world. You will forever live in our hearts.”

Afrifaa Festival “He was so talented. His performance on “there is a hole in the bucket” was my first encounter. RIP”

Dr. Motsoko Pheko “Made a tremendous contribution to the struggle against colonialism and apartheid in South Africa.  Long live the spirit of Belafonte”

Harry Belafonte died on 25th April, 2023 aged 96.