Angelique Kidjo is a consummate performer and she did not disappoint on a early summer evening when she sang, danced and engaged fans who packed the lush green grass of Rockefeller Park at the western end of Chambers Street on Tuesday.
Citing musical influences from Caribbean zouk, Congolese rumba, jazz, gospel and Latin styles, Kidjo, who hails from Benin, sings in the four languages she is fluent in Fon, French, Yoruba and English. Kidjo gives detailed translations of her most political songs.
Between songs, Kidjo chats up, teases and prods the audience.
The crowd, a bit reluctant to follow her encouragement to get up and dance, warmed up with the familiar “Pata Pata” song by Miriam Makeba and then things really heated up when Kidjo walked through the audience, singing.
Not much encouragement was needed when she invited audience members to join her on stage to dance and uninhibited children joined her too.
The event, winding down a blazing hot day with the Hudson River and sunset as a backdrop was part of the River to River Festival. The Festival runs for one month with several free theatre, dance, music, film, mixed media and art exhibitions that take place in 28 sites along the Hudson River, the Battery, and the East River in lower Manhattan.
The River to River Festival ends July 14. For the full schedule: www.rivertorivernyc.com.