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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


Updated: Jul 7, 2023

REVIEW By Steve Cooke

A world-class visionary made a glorious return to Manchester for the first ever gig at Factory International’s new stunning venue.

Angelique Kidjo’s show at MIF23 was her first in Manchester for ten years and, in the true spirit of her support for women and girls, she was joined by some of the best emerging talent from the city: OneDa, Layfullstop and Ellen Beth Abdi. Giving them not only a guest spot but also a change to duet with the icon herself.

Over the past four decades, she has cemented her status as one of the most extraordinary voices in international music. In addition to her recording and performing career, she is an outspoken advocate of education and health care for women and children.

In 2002 UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) named her one of its goodwill ambassadors. She was elected one of four vice presidents of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (Confederation Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs; CISAC) in 2013. Also releasing a memoir, Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music (2014).

She told us that she had always dreamt of a place where artists across the genres could create, exhibit, and perform under one roof and here it was.

Angelique’s voice and African influenced dance moves have never been more exuberant and exhilarating as she continues to defy that she is now well into her 60s.

We were treated to songs from across her career including one of the best versions of Talking Head’s Once In A Lifetime.

She had the audience enthusiastically singing along under her direction and on their feet dancing in the isles - leaving what must be the most comfortable seats I have ever experienced at a live venue!

Angelique Kidjo was the perfect choice to grace this wonderful new venue at its inaugural event.

As I tweeted during the show ‘What an uplifting performance for the opening night of this excellent new venue’.


CrossEyed and Painless

Do Yourself

Bemba Colora

The Great Curve

If Only (with Layfullstop)

Fired Up (with Layfullstop)

Meant For Me

Once in a Lifetime

The Bad Dream (with Ellen Beth Abdi)

Mother Nature (with Ellen Beth Abdi)

Choose Love

Free and Equal

Africa, One of a Kind (with OneDa)

Warriors Daughter (with OneDa)

Afirika (with all guests)

Pata Pata (with all guests)

Batonga (encore)

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