Angelique Kidjo was performing at the Beyoglu Culture Road Festival in Istanbul. Photo: AFP

Gathering with music enthusiasts at a music festival in Istanbul, Beninese songstress Angelique Kidjo stressed the significance of recognizing the potency of music in bridging divisions.

"We need to grasp that music possesses the power to foster peace and obliterate differences," Kidjo said at the Beyoglu Culture Road Festival in Istanbul.

The 63-year-old artist, known as "Africa's diva," is famous in the music world for her vibrant personality and activist inclinations, singing in five different languages and having released numerous albums.

Originally from Benin, Kidjo moved to Paris in 1983 due to challenges she faced in her home country.

'Africa's diva'

Kidjo, who initially began her career as a backup singer, swiftly rose to prominence as a highly sought-after live music performer in Paris.

"The core values I embrace as a human being and an artist revolve around humility. Traditional musicians in my homeland serve as a wellspring of inspiration for me.

They have instilled in me a sense of political consciousness. They taught me the essence of having an identity in a sea of people and how to connect with them through songs and storytelling,” she said.

"I don't confine myself to a single musical genre; it's not my style. Music, you see, is a universal language. The twelve notes we all employ bear no color or nationality. That's the beauty of music. Wherever there is music, I feel like home,” Kidjo said.

Goodwill ambassador

The musician underscored her commitment to building bridges among cultures.

"I believe we should all reflect on how we can contribute to peace, how we can unite amid our disparities, foster dialogue, and acknowledge our equal rights," she told the Anadolu news agency.

As a UNICEF goodwill ambassador since 2002, Kidjo has traversed African nations with UNICEF, preparing diverse reports.

She also founded the Batonga Foundation and actively engaged in initiatives aimed at offering opportunities to girls and women who face inequalities, particularly in her homeland, Benin.

TRT Afrika and agencies