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Angélique Kidjo's global music always returns home

Angelique Kidjo is a 5-time Grammy winner and 12-time nominee.
Angelique Kidjo is a 5-time Grammy winner and 12-time nominee.

Angélique Kidjo has been singing her whole life. First, where she was born, in what is now Benin. Then, in Paris, France, where she escaped, fleeing political conflict at home. Now, she’s a globally-celebrated singer and songwriter.

Kidjo will be in Sweden later this month to accept the Polar Prize. The award is one of the music industry’s most prestigious prizes, recognizing the most influential people in the business. Past winners include some of Kidjo’s collaborators, including Paul McCartney.

Kidjo is only the third musician from Africa to win the Polar Prize. Since her music career began, she’s championed music from her home continent. She continues to collaborate with young African musicians, including Burna Boy and Sampa the Great.

We sat down with Kidjo to look back on her decades-long career and discuss what’s coming next.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Avery Jessa Chapnick