With the coronavirus crisis rapidly unfolding, artists around the globe are coming up with innovative ways to keep the lights on and the music playing — without leaving the house. With this in mind, Rolling Stone has launched a new IGTV performance series, “In My Room.” The debut episode featured Brian Wilson playing his songs from his California home (watch it here).
The latest episode stars one of the greatest artists in international music today: Angelique Kidjo, who calls herself a “daughter of independence” because her native Benin and 16 other West African nations got their independence from France about two weeks after her birthday, which is July 14th.
She was set to mark her 60th birthday a few months early on March 14th with a guest-filled concert at Carnegie Hall — featuring Baaba Maal, Brittany Howard, 86-year-old Cameroonian great Manu Dibango, and Nigeria’s Yemi Alade — before the event was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In this exclusive “In My Room” clip, the Grammy-winning artist performs three songs — a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” “The Overload,” and “Move On Up” — from her home in Paris. “Music has always been at the center of my life; music has helped me go through hard times and create a bond between all of us,” the singer explains. On her choice of the third song, she adds: “How we moving up out of here to get to the next step? How are we going to live in this ever-changing and challenging world? By keeping positive, by keeping our humanity, our love, compassion, empathy [for] a better future.”
Music, for Kidjo, is all about freedom. “When I was a little child, I felt that sense of freedom,” she told the New York Post after the Carnegie Hall cancellation. “I felt that I was free to go from one house to the other with no fear at all, that nothing ever could happen to me. And that’s what I want to celebrate.”
We’re all experiencing this pandemic in different ways — and we’re all in this together. Artists need our support, and they can also help get us through troubled times. We’re looking forward to giving fans a glimpse into the many ways music can help and heal.
To support musicians undergoing financial hardship, please consider giving to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
To find out more about the advocacy organizations Angelique Kidjo supports, visit her website.