Angelique Kidjo usually hosts a dance party wherever she performs. And her new video for “The Great Curve,” premiering exclusively below from her recent recreation of Talking Heads’ Remain In Light, follows suit.
The spirited clip features Kidjo and her guests — including Alicia Keys, the Roots’ Questlove and Blood Orange — along with footage from fans who submitted videos to the Benin-born singer’s Instagram dance contest (including even a Winnie the Pooh stuffed bear). Kidjo herself also dances with people she encounters on the streets of Paris.
“It’s important to me that my fans around the world can participate, visually,” Kidjo tells Billboard. She hopes the exercise and the viewing experience sends a message, too.
“I really wanted it to be a global statement,” Kidjo explains. “I wanted women and men and children in this discussion about the violence we’re engaging in against each other, as humans, and against Mother Nature, the planet. We’re partners on this Earth; There’s no way we can survive without each other. We’re living in an era right now that’s about division and people wanting to break everything down. For what? So for me it’s about what can we do together to make a better world and…make our leaders work FOR us, not against us.”
Kidjo’s Jeff Bhasker-produced Remain In Light, a song-by-song reimagination of Talking Heads’ acclaimed 1980 album, came out digitally during the summer and physically last month. The album, and particularly the track “Once in a Lifetime,” were pivotal moments for Kidjo, who heard them during 1983, when she moved from Benin to France and was impressed with a white rock band exploring the musical styles of her home continent.
“I met David Byrne when I came to New York (during the mid-80s); He was one of the first big stars that came to my show,” Kidjo recalls. “I was surprised, and I was galvanized. I said, ‘I want to move to America if there’s people like David Byrne there.'” Byrne has heard Kidjo’s Remain in Light and, she says, “liked it a lot,” while Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison joined Kidjo at some shows during the summer where she played the album.
Kidjo recently closed New York’s’ Central Park SummerStage and is taking the show to Europe for shows beginning Oct. 26 at the Umea Jazz Festival in Sweden. She’s planning more Remain In Light concerts for 2019 in the U.S. and Europe. “We have so much fun doing it, it’s ridiculous,” Kidjo says. “I’m just having the time of my life on stage with it. It’s great.”