The 62nd Grammy Awards held on the 26th of January, 2020 at Staples Center in Los Angeles saw a lot of the big and widely celebrated acts across the world and Nigerians were excited as Burna Boy bagged a nomination.
Burna wasn’t the first to get a Grammy nod as artistes like Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Sikiru Adepoju and Babatunde Olatunji, have also been nominated. Yes, we were all excited when the news of the nomination got out but nobody bothered to check on the other artistes nominated alongside the singer.
Burna was up against Altin Gün and Gece, Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted By Jules Buckley’s What Heat, Nathalie Joachim and Spektral Quartet’s for Fanm D’Ayiti and lastly Angelique Kidjo. All these nominated acts albums were top-notch and also critically acclaimed projects but who really care” Burna’s win was sure.
To the dismay of Nigerians, Angelique Kidjo emerged the winner and dedicated the award to him. This win did not go well with Nigerians and they took to social media to rant. Very few were aware of Kidjo’s winning streak at the Grammys and easily concluded that the Burna would bring the prestigious award home because he’s the almighty Burna Boy. However, it is quite understandable that Nigerians would reason like that as it’s not every day Nigerian artistes get to receive Grammy nominations.
Angelina Kidjo’s win was a well deserved on because her nominated body of work ‘Celia’ Album is a complete package. The sounds, engineering, mixing & mastering and arrangement is a 100%. The ‘Celia’ album will defeat our ‘African Giant’ 8 times (if not even 10) out of 10 when placed both at a direct versus level.
We will be giving you an insight about Angelique Kidjo’s “Celia” album below so those that don’t know about the album will stop saying she doesn’t deserves the award and Burna Boy was cheated.
The Album: ‘Celia’
The Album was made in honor of Celia Cruz the ‘Queen Of Salsa Music’ (or Latin Music). Just like Angelique had to leave her homeland to Europe, Celia Cruz was also forced to leave Cuba due to political reasons. Kidjo was privileged to see her perform on a 1974 tour of Africa and became a fan of the Cuban singer instantly hence the inspiration for her to honor the singer.
Angelique’s tribute to the Cuban singer Celia Cruz, widely known as “the Queen of Salsa” and the most popular Latin artist of the 20th century was released on April 19, 2019. It was produced by David Donatien and featured Tony Allen, Meshell Ndegeocello and the Gangbe Brass Band. The album includes the reinvention of the singer’s music with an extra Afrobeat feel and other sounds. (Just imagine an African artiste playing with the Latin sound and diversifying round other Genres of music).
The Album: African Giant
“African Giant” no doubt was a remarkable body of work as it seems to be the most acclaimed project so far from the artiste. Due to a background with multiple influences, the singer was able to infuse different elements into the album and was centred majorly on Afrobeats. Burna sang about political issues, love, and relationships and did a remarkable job of sampling of music projects by other artistes.
Why did Celia win?
Nigerian music lovers would say “we didn’t even know about the album,” “probably a bunch of songs with her singing in some strange language” but none came out to say they listened to the album.
This writer, upon listening to Celia was able to deduce why the album bagged the award. The Guardian in their review of the album called it “an inventive reinterpretation” wrote that, “Kidjo’s singing is powerful and assured throughout, from the upbeat revamp of Bemba Colorá to the brooding, chanting echoes of Santería, the Afro-Cuban religion, on Elegua and Yemaya, a tribute to the orisha (spirit) of motherhood and ruler of the seas, now set to an African juju beat. Magnificent.” Financial Times also gave it a 5-star rating and called it “a reimagining of a Latin superstar”
However, let’s not get carried away because this is not a criterion for an album to receive a Grammy nomination as there are several factors involved.
- The album reeks of quality and elegance. The production, mixing, lyrics were all done by professionals that have been in the music game and know their onions.
- She’s already registered as a “regular customer” to the Academy. Angelique is no newbie to the Grammys, since her first win back in 2008, the singer has continued to deliver quality music and they have in return continuously rewarded her effort and hard work.
- As stated earlier, Kidjo, merely gave Celia Cruz’ music an Afrobeat makeover and still managed to infuse other genres into the album. She also made the album in Spanish which is a language Europeans can relate to and still get the Afrobeat vibe . However, African Giant was mostly sang in “pidgin “English” – some countries don’t even know a language like that exists.
- We can’t ignore the fact that “African Giant” had more streams but these guys are not just about streams. The Best World Music Album seeks to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position so sales really don’t count.
In conclusion, Burna Boy never really had a chance, let’s be honest with ourselves but he definitely deserves accolades for being nominated with such artistes. He pushed “Afrobeats” to the world in a spectacular way changing the world’s perspective of the genre.
It is also certain that he will bring forth a better “African Giant” and like Angelique, the Grammys would have no choice but to pay more attention to his sound and include him as a favorite. This is why we feel Angelique is more deserving of the award.
Do you have a contrary opinion? Let us know in the comment section below;