From Benin To Oakland

Posted on Jun 21, 2011

Benin born, Paris based world music star Angelique Kidjo is a dynamo of a performer. She proved it and more last Friday at the Paramount Theater in Oakland as part of a dream bill with Senegalese superstar Youssou N’Dour. She walked on the Paramount stage to roaring applause before she even sang one note. Kidjo was energetic, charismatic and embodied joy throughout her short set. She seduced the packed crowd from the first note with her warmth, distinctive powerful voice and exuberant dance moves. The crowd gave into Angelique fever by dancing, singing-a-long and responding to her commands during her repertoire of catchy hook driven songs. Her tight, supple band of just electric/acoustic guitar, drums, bass and percussion provided ample beat-driven African pop-rn’b-world fusion which propelled the music and locked in with her voice. By the time Kidjo ended her set, she had the stage filled with dancing patrons trying to keep up with her intense energy. Kidjo took it all in with good humor and was enjoying the participation of the crowd. It was an excellent performance from one of my favorite world music stars. The show was one of the last concerts for the SF Jazz Spring Season co-sponsored by KPFA Radio.