This Friday, Jan. 21, St. Paul will be privileged to receive, from her birthplace in Benin, a very special international visitor. At 7:30 p.m., on the main stage of the Ordway Music Theater, 345 Washington Street, there will be an appearance by Angélique Kidjo with her quintet.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – It is a cold Sunday evening on Jan. 13, as more than 1400 people gather at the Ordway Center in St. Paul. They are here to see Angelique Kidjo, the five-time Grammy nominated singer, along with her five-piece band.
It's a blistering cold Sunday evening in Minnesota, but within the lobby of the Ordway Centre for performing arts in downtown St. Paul, there is a warmth flowing through the chatter and excitement amongst the hundreds waiting to get tickets to the Angelique Kidjo concert. I have never been to the Ordway Centre before, though countless times I've dreamed of dressing up and joining the many who come for Operas and concerts. Now here I am, standing in this beautiful, red carpeted, high ceiling, brightly lit lobby, tickets in hand.
If you asked a random group of American world music fans to rattle off names of African musicians, it will most likely include Youssou N’dour, Baaba Maal, Habib Koite, Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure, Angelique Kidjo and Fela Kuti. Conspicuously missing from this non-scientific sample are names of musicians from East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and others).