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As a performer, her striking voice, stage presence and fluency in multiple cultures and languages have won respect from her peers and expanded her following across national borders. 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.
The new year brings us Angélique’s newest project, her interpretation of The Talking Heads’ classic 1980 album, Remain in Light. She will record her version of the album with superstar producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Jay Z, Drake, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, and Taylor Swift), taking classic songs such as "Crosseyed and Painless," "Once in a Lifetime," and "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)" and reinterpreting them with electrifying rhythms, African guitars, and layered backing vocals. Angélique will bring this musical extravaganza to concert halls and festivals across the globe including a premier performance at Carnegie Hall and U.S. festival debut at Bonnaroo in 2017.
Her star-studded album DJIN DJIN won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Album in 2008, and her album OYO was nominated for the same award in 2011. In January 2014 Angélique’s first book, a memoir titled Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music (Harper Collins) and her twelfth album, EVE (Savoy/429 Records), were released to critical acclaim. EVE later went on to win the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 2015, and her historic, orchestral album Sings with the Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg (Savoy/429 Records) won a Grammy for Best World Music Album in 2016.
Angelique has gone on to perform this genre-bending work with several international orchestras and symphonies including the Bruckner Orchestra, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and the Philharmonie de Paris. Her collaboration with Philip Glass, IFÉ: Three Yorùbá Songs, made its US debut to a sold out concert with the San Francisco Symphony in June 2015. In addition to performing this new orchestral concert, Angelique continues to tour globally performing the high-energy concert she’s become famous for with her four-piece band. Her rousing live show was recently captured at the revered Austin City Limits and made its television debut in January 2016.
Angelique also travels the world advocating on behalf of children in her capacity as a UNICEF and OXFAM goodwill Ambassador. She created her own charitable foundation, Batonga, dedicated to support the education of young girls in Africa.
A fearless collaborator of great artistry and social conscience, Ms. Kidjo has spent her career crossing borders and boundaries to create music with renowned artists across styles and continents. Her willingness to take artistic risks, and her belief in the power of music to bring people together embody the Lycée Gala 2018 theme, “Culture et Courage: Fearless Curiosity.”
Past Lycée Français Galas have brought together 1,000 guests and raised more than $2 million in a single evening. Proceeds support our efforts to make our extraordinary educational program available to students in need through scholarships and enhance academic and cultural initiatives at the school. For many, this special occasion is the primary event of the year for the Francophone and Francophile community of New York. Past honorees have included Gad Elmaleh, Christine Lagarde, Sidney Toledano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Henry, Christy Turlington Burns, and JR.
The Lycée Français de New York is a non-profit, independent school founded in 1935 that welcomes more than 1350 students representing 52 nationalities from pre-K through 12th grade. Committed to bilingual French and American education of the highest standard, the Lycée's mission is to prepare students of many origins to be thinkers, innovators and leaders, who are at home in the world and inspired to make a positive difference in the lives of others.