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Back to Press Release List > 10/06/2010 - Carnegie Hall Presents Grammy Award-Winning Afro-Pop Singer Angélique Kidjo on November 11


Kidjo’s Program, The Sound of the Drum, Features Special Guests
Dianne Reeves, Omara Portuondo, and Youssou N'Dour

On Thursday, November 11 at 8:00 p.m., Carnegie Hall presents celebrated singer and Grammy Award-winner Angélique Kidjo in her headlining debut in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, performing The Sound of the Drum—a musical journey exploring the influence of the drum through rhythms, songs, and dances originating in Africa and continuing on to the Caribbean and America. A celebration of the diversity of African music and the diaspora, this program will bridge the evolution of African drums and chants with various musical traditions throughout the Americas.

The Sound of the Drum will feature Kidjo performing acoustic versions of her best loved songs accompanied by percussions born out of the African legacy. Having been inspired not only by the traditional drumming and chanting of her native Benin (West Africa), but also by the wealth of musical genres she encountered growing up—including that of Jimi Hendrix, Celia Cruz, James Brown, Gilberto Gil, the STAX sound from Memphis, Haitian kompa, and Beguin music from the French West Indies—Kidjo notes that she has always tried to reunite all the music that she loves with the African traditions that shaped them originally.

For this program, Kidjo is joined by three outstanding guest artists: groundbreaking Senegalese singer and percussionist Youssou N’Dour, singer and star of the Buena Vista Social Club Omara Portuondo, and renowned jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. Along with Kidjo, these artists’ performances will help to illustrate the deep musical connection between African music and the music of the Americas.

Angélique Kidjo’s dynamic stage performances and uplifting music earned her the reputation of "Africa's premier diva" by Time magazine. In addition to her distinctive work as a performer, Kidjo is also an active philanthropist who promotes education for girls in Africa through her Batonga Foundation. She also serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and travels the world to inspire and empower others. Kidjo’s latest record OYO (Razor & Tie) was released in September 2010 and explores the singer’s roots while embracing rhythm & blues, soul music, jazz, and Beninese melodies.

About The Artist
Angélique Kidjo
is one of the greatest forces in African music, a creative energy with eleven international albums to her name. In 2007, her album Djin Djin received a GRAMMY award. In 2010 Kidjo shared the stage with Alicia Keys, John Legend and Shakira for the FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kidjo’s most recent release, 2010’s Oyo featuring John Legend, Bono and Dianne Reeves, is a measure of her maturity. The album is deeply introspective, reflecting on the events that have brought Kidjo to this point. Born in the West African state of Benin, Kidjo is a tireless campaigner for women’s health and education in Africa, a UNICEF Peace Ambassador and a prolific songwriter. “When your history is not written, you count on storytellers and traditional singers in Africa to tell you who you are, what your family’s about and what is going on in your society. This is what I do with my music, because I am a witness of my time.” Between 1972 and 1989 Benin was run as a Marxist state under Mathieu Kérékou who took over in a military coup d’état. Kidjo was forced into exile in order to avoid imprisonment. Her friend and mentor Miriam Makeba was a constant source of guidance. Makeba’s campaigning against apartheid, which cost her the right to South African citizenship and resulted in a 30-year exile, will be remembered as strongly as her music. Similarly, Kidjo’s campaigning for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, as well as her own organization, Batonga Foundation, which provides African girls with an education, will go down in the annals of history.

As a child, Kidjo was constantly surrounded by foreign music: the records of James Brown, Carlos Santana and her mentor Miriam Makeba, and that influence is heavily marked on the new album. “Without music I don’t think I would have had the adolescence and the childhood that I had,” she says, recalling that she was just six when she first appeared on stage. Atcha Houn, a traditional track of staccato vocals laid over the sparse plucking of a guitar, was the song she sang as a young girl and features on Oyo.

Program Information
Thursday, November 11 at 8:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage

Youssou N'Dour
Omara Portuondo
Dianne Reeves


Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

Ticket Information
Tickets, $27, $31, $38, $50, $67, and $74, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website,

For Carnegie Hall Corporation presentations taking place in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer. In addition, for all Carnegie Hall presentations in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage a limited number of partial view (seats with obstructed or limited sight lines or restricted leg room) will be sold for 50% of the full price. For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit

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Image from top of release: Alexei Hay