Iconic Beninese musician and Pan-Africanist Angélique Kidjo recently added another album to her already impressive catalogue. After dominating the music industry for almost four decades, with 12 studio albums to her name and four Grammy Awards, Mrs Kidjo released her 13th studio album. Mother Nature, on the 18th of June. Weeks to its release date, she announced the project on her social media accounts, describing it as her personal ode to Mother Earth and an appreciation of all the values humanity holds dear. What makes this album extremely unique is the multiple features of young African artists from around the continent. In her 2020 Grammy acceptance speech, she reminded the world of the incredible talent in Africa, and she had also mentioned her intention to collaborate with the young musicians from the continent numerous times.
Mother Nature, a highly collaborative 13-track project, is Mrs Kidjo’s way of conversing with the younger generation, referring to it as “the transmission of culture as our grandparents have done“. With each track, Mrs Kidjo celebrated Africa beautifully while also talking about the various issues that affected the continent, including the tragic end to Nigeria’s nationwide 2020 End SARS protest movement, which was the message behind Dignity. She also talked about racism, generosity, love, and the significance of 1960 in Africa.
Together with Yemi Alade, on “Dignity” Angelique Kidjo used music to not only shine a light on the End SARS protest that erupted in Nigeria but to also communicate to the police force, reminding them of their duties to the people.
In Africa, One of a Kind, her track with Mr Eazi and Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo sampled the 1995 timeless track off Salif Keita’s album Folon. She hoped to remind people of the blood connection every human has with Africa and that Africa is the cradle of humankind.
With Free & Equal, Angelique Kidjo addressed the racially fueled riots that took place in Italy in the early 2010s. She intended to reiterate that words without actions are meaningless, mentioning to Apple Music that rather than embrace love and the arts, humans worship violence, division and money.
In her song with Burna Boy, Do Yourself, she talked about accountability and taking actions. She emphasizes how important it is for Africans to take that step forward themselves rather than waiting for others to do so. She also reminds listeners of how difficult it was for Africa to get to where she is.
Mother Nature’s timeless sound and lovely message will not only influence and inspire this generation but also future generations, thanks to contributions from a wide range of artists and Angelique Kidjo’s outstanding artistry.