Another Amazing Artist Is Coming To The Lowell Summer Music Series
Angélique Kidjo, one of my favorite African artists (and one of my favorite artists, period) is coming to the Lowell Summer Music Series. She will appear at Boarding House Park on Sunday, July 14th! I have seen her several times (including last night at World Music’s CrashFest) and already cannot wait to see her again! I believe she is the first African musician to headline a show at the Series (many African performers have appeared at the Lowell Folk Festival over the years, however).
“Global pop star and 3-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo has partnered with 2015 Grammy producer of the year Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, The Rolling Stones, Beyonce) for a full circle re-imagining of Talking Heads’ 1980 landmark album Remain in Light. The original album, considered to be one of the greatest albums of that decade, was influenced by music from West Africa, notably Fela Kuti’s afrobeat. This remarkable new collaboration is a radical statement and positions the Benin-born artist as she’s never been heard before.
“In 2017, Kidjo premiered this musical project at New York’s Carnegie Hall and at Bonnaroo (David Byrne came out of the audience to sing with her during the Carnegie Hall show). The shows were met with raves and she will perform the album in concert throughout 2019.
“Kidjo first crossed paths with the original album when she fled Benin and moved to Paris in 1983. She recognized it as African, but the rhythms were harder for her to place. It stayed with her, but she kept it to herself because some of her music teachers and fellow students at the time dismissed her opinions because she was a young African woman who wouldn’t, in their opinion, know anything about rock and roll. But the album continued to inhabit her subconscious.
““I started working on Remain in Light and I would pick a song and it would match these Beninese traditional songs I heard,” she recalls. “It was just so organic and normal that the whole thing fell into place. You have all these puzzle pieces — you see the picture appear and then you put the stuff in places.”
““It was a challenge reinterpreting this iconic masterpiece,” says Bhasker. “We didn’t simply want to “cover” what the brilliant producer Brian Eno and revolutionary Talking Heads created, but rather put our own spin on it. Rip out its guts and turn it on its head.
“As they were inspired to take an African form and rock it, we took rock and brought it back to Africa. I think the result is a beautiful full circle experience that I hope enhances both worlds and brings culture closer together.”
“Remain in Light is made anew. The African-ness of the sound comes out in same mesmerizing African polyrhythms that made the original so ground-breaking, but there are also different languages echoed in counter melodies of the haunting “The Overload,” the edgy “Listening Wind” and others that are added by Kidjo.
“The delivery of David Byrne’s lyrics is a classic study in contrasts while embracing the bigger ideas. Whereas the vocals were originally self-conscious, arty, ironic and sometimes alienated, Kidjo’s voice and additional lyrics are a clarion call that sheds new light on the politics in “Born Under Punches,” the empowerment of women on the “Great Curve” and tackling the African skin bleaching phenomenon on “Seen and Not Seen.”
““When it comes to music, I don’t have much fear,” says Kidjo, who is also well known for her humanitarian efforts. “If you are inspired to do something, then there is truth in that. My music has been a weapon for constructing bridges. We have so much in common, yet we are so divided that we may not take a pause to think about what we may have in common. We think there is things to divide us, but not much divides us.””
Tickets for the Angélique Kidjo show are priced at $42 in advance (fee-free!). There are also premium seats – beach chairs are provided by the Series – set in two rows directly in front of the stage for $142. Tickets for this show go on sale on Tuesday, February 26th at 10 a.m. through Lowell Summer Music Series.
For those of you who are unaware of the Series, or if you are aware of it but have never attended a show there, it is an outdoor (weather permitting) concert series held on National Park Service grounds in Lowell, Massachusetts. The Series is not-for-profit, which helps keep the ticket prices reasonable.
Surrounding Boarding House Park are old mill buildings, part of the Lowell National Historical Park, which you can tour if you arrive early enough. They provide an unusual setting for an evening of great music and ambiance.
The Series generally runs from mid-June to early September.
This Series is dear to my heart. I have been a season pass holder since 2007 and it is one of the highlights of the year (and of summer in particular) for me. Many lasting friendships have been made there. I expect this will be another excellent year!
I will post additional announcements for the Series as they are made.
So far, the lineup is:
July 13th (Saturday) – The Record Company
July 14th (Sunday) – Angélique Kidjo
July 19th (Friday) – I’m With Her
August 15th (Thursday) – The Beach Boys
Posted on February 24, 2019, in concert announcements, music, Uncategorized and tagged African music, Angelique Kidjo, Benin, Boarding House Park, boston, concert announcement, Lowell, Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Summer Music Series, music. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.