May 4, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 18
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Sunday, Jan 19, 2020



the Music Lounge by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A & E Writer
Angelique Kidjo doesn't like the Seattle rain, and don't get her started on the AIDS crisis in her African homeland
Angelique Kidjo lives each day to its fullest. She'll tell you so herself. And if you ever get the opportunity to meet her in-person, or speak to her on the phone as I did a few weeks ago, you'll feel the enormous amount of energy pouring out from this vibrant, well-respected African diva. Kidjo is a quadruple Grammy nominee who toured with Gay-pursued Josh Groban earlier this year and recently collaborated with Alicia Keys, Peter Gabriel, Joss Stone, and Groban on her newest recording Djin Djin. Kidjo's outspokenness on AIDS and personal mantra to be who you are offers her fans a bright side to life's bumpy roads. The much-lauded world music artist performs this weekend (May 4-6) at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, and she's not to be missed. Listen to the first track from her 2004 album Oyaya, my personal favorite, called "Seyin Djro" and imagine hearing it inside an intimate concert venue with Kidjo dancing jubilantly on stage - a colorful, celebrative experience. Visit for reservations.

Speaking in a husky voice with a thick accent from her current Brooklyn residence, this is what Angelique Kidjo got excited about inside "The Music Lounge".

Albert Rodriguez: I describe your concerts as celebrations. They're so festive. People are singing and dancing and lifting their arms up in the air.

Angelique Kidjo: I love that! I want people to not be so serious, to come down and have fun. You never know what the next five minutes hold.

Rodriguez: I want to thank you for talking about the AIDS crisis when you performed at the Jazz Alley two years ago. The Gay community is well aware of this problem. Many people outside the Gay community hear about it, but I don't think it affects them as much emotionally.

Kidjo: Because they don't want to think about the fact that there are risks. It's easy for them to just not think about it. But they are as able to get it as you are, if they are not careful. That's just the way it is. If you're not careful, you're going to be dead.

Rodriguez: Are the governments in Africa ignorant about AIDS?

Kidjo: Most of them are. For example, Uganda was one of the first governments in Africa that really came out and said, "We've got to do something about it". But what they were preaching is the ABCs: abstinence, being faithful and condoms. In South Africa, they are in complete denial about the pandemic by the government. In other countries in Africa, they don't even talk about it.

Rodriguez: In Africa, it's a widespread disease. Unlike the United States where it's had a huge impact on the Gay community.

Kidjo: It's everybody. Everybody! It's no longer what people used to call the "Gay disease". It's everywhere. You have to realize that in South Africa there's a lot of infection within race because of apartheid. It is tricky because you have the traditions and a lot of stuff that are part of addressing the AIDS pandemic in Africa. The prevalence is led in Central Africa and the South of Africa. We haven't found out yet what makes this difference.

Rodriguez: How often do you return to Africa?

Kidjo: I go back every time I can.

Rodriguez: Do you have any special memories of Seattle?

Kidjo: Oh yes! I love Seattle! I love the water. I love the seafood that's fresh. I love lots of stuff there. But, I hope there's no rain.

Rodriguez: It's raining right now.

Kidjo: (laughs) You can keep it. I don't want it. I don't want it following me.

Rodriguez: You can write a song about the rain.

Kidjo: (begins to sing) I can't stand the rain.

Rodriguez: Will you perform music from all your albums when you come here?

Kidjo: I'm going to try. Every album has its different songs. We're going to try to do songs from the most recent album (Djin Djin) and some older ones.

Rodriguez: Hopefully it won't rain in Seattle when you come, so you can walk around the city.

Kidjo: I love to walk around the water in Seattle, and to the shopping malls.

Rodriguez: Is Josh Groban a nice person to work with?

Kidjo: (enthusiastically) Absolutely! Absolutely! He is nice, talented, and a great person. Rodriguez: Can you sneak him into your luggage when you come to Seattle?

Kidjo: (laughs) I'll try!

Rodriguez: It's been wonderful talking to you Angelique. Safe travels to Seattle, and leave your umbrella at home - let's hope for sunshine.

Kidjo: Thank you very much! I will see you in Seattle. Enjoy the rest of your day.

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