The Chicago Collective was the amazing opening act for Angelique Kidjo’s concert this past Saturday night. If you know the Chicago Collective at all, then you know that their performance was satiated in soul. The theme of their performance was Reaching Water. As I watched Tyler Brooks, Jessica Anderson, and Kadesia Woods perform, I was moved by the flawless interweaving of spoken word, African drumming, singing, and movement. It was as if I was reliving the development of the afro-musical form myself. The passionate performance resonated deep within me when the Collective finished the piece by singing the evolution of afro-fusion music. It’s no surprise their piece received a standing ovation. Their performance was riveting. Mere words can’t do justice to the entirety of their performance. If you ever get the opportunity, go watch The Chicago Collective in action.
The rest of the performance with Angelique Kidjo was two and a half hours of pure delight. The way that Kidjo combines the musical styles of Africa and the contemporary style left the audience on their feet. People were dancing in seats, out of their seats, and in the aisles. Kidjo herself would give the audience snippets of her own dancing which only increased the frenzy. The song that left a lasting impression was her tribute to her father who laid the foundation of her career. The soulful ballad with accompanying electric guitar wrought my heart with feeling. The love she had for her father as her clear voice rang out resonated deep in my heart. Kidjo is a dynamic person and performer. It was truly a joy to experience contemporary Africa through her music.