One Twitter user expressed shock at people’s shock when it was announced that Angelique Kidjo won Best World Music Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards. Most Nigerians are disappointed, and some are surprised, but why? From this writer’s perspective, there are a few reasons why Burna Boy should not have won that Grammy. One reason is that even though the past one year has been an incredible one for Burna Boy’s career – a year that has thrust him further out into the limelight – and even though African Giant is a beautifully crafted and produced body of work; Angelique Kidjo’s Celia is a far more impressive project. Nevertheless, Angelique Kidjo paid tribute to Burna Boy’s artistry in her acceptance speech when she received the golden gramophone for Best World Music Album on Sunday.
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“This is for Burna Boy, he is among those young artists who came from Africa who are changing the way our continent is perceived, and the way African music has been the bed rock for every [type] of music.”– Angelique Kidjo
It has to be said that most Burna Boy fans were hoping he would be the next artiste to bring a Grammy home for Nigeria. The last time a Nigerian musician won a Grammy was reportedly in 2009 when Global Drum Project won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album. Global Drum Project was, however, an album by a number of artistes: Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo. Sikiru Adepoju was the only Nigerian on the project, and thus brought back a part of the shared glory home for Nigeria.
Angelique Kidjo and Burna Boy were both nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Grammy Awards, alongside Nathalie Joachim (with Spectral Quartet), Bokante & Metropole Orkest (Conducted by Jules Buckley) and Altin Gun. Burna Boy was nominated for his African Giant album, while Angelique Kidjo was nominated for her Celia album, a project she dedicated to and named after the late Afro-Cuban singer, Celia Cruz. In an interview with OkayaFRICA Lst year, Kidjo shared that Celia Cruz was someone who ‘never shied away from her African heritage.‘
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In the early time of his career, 2013 to be exact, Burna Boy sampled Angelique Kidjo’s classic track: Wombo Lombo, on a song he titled Wombo Lombo Something. Angelique was also featured on the African Giant album that her album was competing against for Best World Music Album. With both artist’s having expressed so much respect for each other, there is no room for sadness or disappointment. There should only be hope that Burna Boy will develop in his craft and eventually succeed in producing the kind of work that will earn him a Grammy. As 2020 eases into full swing, there is a lot to look forward to and expect from people like Burna Boy who impressed us all in 2019. Burna may just have the kind of card up his sleeve that will earn him another nomination in 2021, and perhaps that time, a win.
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