Burna Boy

By Taiwo Okanlawon

Nigerian singer Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, better known as Burna Boy has lost the 2020 Grammy Award for the Best World Music Album to Angelique Kidjo, whose Celia was adjudged the winner over African Giant and three others.

Burna Boy has thus failed to clinch the much expected award like other home-grown Nigerian singers such as King Sunny Ade, Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti, who were all nominated in the past.

It was Burna Boy’s first Grammy nomination and his multiple award winning African Giant was widely expected to clinch it for him.

Burna Boy has been making headlines since he dropped the album.

Angelique Kidjo: winner in world music

African Giant is the fourth studio album by Burna Boy, which was released on July 26, 2019, by Spaceship Entertainment, Bad Habit, Atlantic Records and Warner Music. The album is a mixture of Afro-fusion, Afrobeat, dancehall, pop, and hip hop.

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The Best World Music Album category recognizes performers outside the United States who showcase non-European, indigenous influences in their body of work. The award was first handed out in 1992 to Mickey Hart.

Other artistes who did not make it in the category at the ceremony at Staples Centre in Los Angeles are Gece — Altin Gün, What Heat — Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted By Jules Buckley and Fanm D’ayiti — Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet.

Angelique Kidjo’s Celia was released on April 19, 2019. The album is a tribute by Angelique to Cuban singer Celia Cruz. It was produced by David Donatien and featured Tony Allen, Meshell Ndegeocello and the Gangbe Brass Band. The Guardian has called the album “magnificent” and The Financial Times gave it 5 stars. The album includes songs spanning all of Celia’s Cruz career reinvented with an Afrobeat feel. Of the song Quimbara, New York Times critic Jon Pareles says:”Backed by Michelle Ndegeocello on bass, the Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen on drums, Dominic James on guitars and the Gangbe Brass Band, Kidjo reconnects the salsa original to West Africa, layering the song with a tumbling six-beat rhythm, a brass-band undertow and a tangle of scurrying guitar lines while she belts with enough grit to rival Cruz herself.”

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Celia was the fourth work of Angélique Kidjo to win a Grammy Award.

She first won a Grammy in 2008 for Best Contemporary World Music Album. In 2011, she was nominated for another award, but she lost it.

She picked her second Grammy in 2015 for “Eve,” a tribute to Africa’s women. She also won in 2016, her third for her 2015 album, Sings.

Altogether, the singer called the ‘undisputed queen of African music’ has had many Grammy nominations including the Best Music Video of 1995 and Best World Music Album for works completed in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2014 2015 and 2019.

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Angelique Kidjo was born on 14 July, 1960 in Ouidah, Benin Republic. Her mother was Yoruba and her father Fon.

She grew up listening to Beninese traditional music, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, James Brown, Manu Dibango, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Osibisa, and Santana. By the time she was six, Kidjo was performing with her mother’s theatre troupe, giving her an early appreciation for traditional music and dance.