Angélique Kidjo won her fourth Grammy in the Best World Music Album category for her tribute album ‘Celia’.
Released in April last year ‘Celia’ celebrates Cuban salsa singer and icon, Celia Cruz. The Cuban activist helped to construct the legacy of salsa, which is definitively the “melting pot” for Spanish-speaking immigrants who borrowed from the intricacies of Afro-American jazz and vice versa.
The album includes songs spanning all of Cruz’s career reimagined in Afrobeat, “Over ten tracks, Kidjo’s album ‘Celia’ divests itself of the glamour to investigate the African roots of the Cuban-born woman who became the ‘Queen’ of salsa, a music genre invented in New York by Caribbean immigrants,” the album’s official synopsis details.
Congrats Best World Music Album winner – 'Celia' @angeliquekidjo
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) January 26, 2020
The singer explained what Cruz meant to her in her acceptance speech, “Celia Cruz, for me she’s the goddess of salsa. She’s the queen of salsa. She is one of those artists that taught me at a young age that my gender cannot define who I am, that I can do everything I wanted to do.”
This was a monumental year for African artists at the Grammy’s. Altin Gün for ‘Gece’, Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted by Jules Buckley for ‘What Heat’, Burna Boy for ‘African Giant’ and Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet for ‘Fanm D’Ayiti’.
Notably Kidjo and Burna Boy collaborated on the track “Different” from his Grammy nominated album ‘African Giant’.
— Burna Boy (@burnaboy) November 20, 2019
African artists such as Wizkid, Shatta Wale, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Tiwa Savage, Tekno, Yemi Alade, Busiswa and Salatiel were also nominated for their work on Beyoncé’s ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ album.
— Genius (@mreazi) November 20, 2019
“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,” Kidjo proudly said in her speech.
Trevor Noah, who recently became the first African artist to sell-out NYC’s Madison Square Garden, earned a nomination in the Best Comedy Album category for “Son of Patricia.”
Honourable mention to Jamaican singer Mikayla Simpson, popularly known as Koffee for becoming the youngest person and first woman ever to win a Grammy for Best Reggae Album.
Kidjo’s Grammy History
In her career Kidjo has been nominated for nine Grammys’ and won four times.
The single “Agolo”, in her second album ‘Ayé’ released in 1994 earned Kidjo her first ever Grammy nomination.
However, the 2007 album Djin Djin won her, her first Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music album and a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding World Music album. The album had many guest stars including Josh Groban, Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys, Joss Stone, Peter Gabriel, Amadou and Mariam, Ziggy Marley, and Branford Marsali.
“EVE” an album she said was, “remembrance of African women I grew up with and a testament to the pride and strength that hide behind the smile that masks everyday troubles,” won her the second Grammy at the 57th Grammy Awards.
Her 2015 collaboration album with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra that contained orchestral versions of 9 songs from previous albums and two original songs: Nanae and Otishe won her third Grammy.
Watch Kidjo’s speech here: