Growing up on the southern coast of Benin, Angelique Kidjo was surrounded by music, both at home and in the crowded marketplaces nearby. Under the influence of her mother, an actress and dancer, Kidjo began singing before she could fully speak. It wasn’t long before she was performing alongside her mother on stage. Kidjo’s own career as a singer followed soon thereafter.
In an interview with Morning Edition host Renee Montagne, Kidjo says her family exposed her to the music that would shape her development as an artist. Her new album, Oyo, includes her version of Santana’s “Samba Pa Ti,” a song she remembers her parents listening to.
“My father and mother loved that song,” Kidjo says. “My father sometimes would come home, and we’d be playing, and my mom would be cooking. My father would say, ‘Yvonne, can you join me for a couple steps? Let’s dance to this.’ And you’d hear my mom going, ‘You fool, my food will burn, I can’t leave this.’ And my father would say, ‘Don’t worry. If it burns, we’ll do another one.’ And we’d say, ‘Dad, can you leave Mom now? We want to eat!’ “
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