Angelique Kidjo’s Celia won the Best World Music Album award at the 2020 Grammy awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night, ahead of other nominees including Altin Gün (Gece), Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted By Jules Buckley (What Heat), Burna Boy (African Giant) and Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet (Fanm D’Ayiti). It marked Kidjo’s her fourth win in the category.
The Benin Republic-born singer-songwriter, actress and activist who is noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos, after receiving the award dedicated it to Burna Boy, saying the Nigerian artiste was one of the few African artistes changing the way African music was viewed in the world. “Four years ago on this stage, I was telling you that the new generations of artists coming from Africa gonna take you by storm and the time has come. This one is for Burna Boy,” she said in moving tribute to the Nigerian music sensation.
That Burna Boy lost was however a huge disappointment to his millions of fans, especially in his home country. It had generally been expected that the Nigerian artiste would win the prestigious award to cap a very successful year, which saw him soar in popularity across the world in 2019. His song ‘My Money, My Baby’ was included by Michelle Obama in her workout playlist two weeks ago, a week after her husband, former US President Barack Obama also revealed his favourite music list containing a song by the Nigerian music star.
Kidjo’s success has been attributed to her daring experimentation – mixing traditional African music with Western classical instrumentation. She has enjoyed a long history of notable collaborations with greats from the jazz and pop worlds, including Carlos Santana, Bono, John Legend, Josh Groban, Peter Gabriel, Branford Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove and Alicia Keys.
The former US first lady can also now add Grammy winner to her resume, after taking the award for Best Spoken Word Album, for the audiobook of her memoir “Becoming.”
Her win on Sunday gives the Obama household its third Grammy: the former president has already snagged two Grammys in the same category for his books.