An African Fairytale

Yemandja

Angélique Kidjo, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Naïma Hebrail Kidjo, Kerry James Marshall

Musical theatre about love, betrayal and the injustices of slavery

Drawing inspiration from her ancestors, her family and Africa’s resilience, singer Angélique Kidjo tells a story that is a wake-up call to her audience.

In a 19th-century West-African village where slavery is in full swing, the young woman Omolola receives a god-given gift in secret. Yemandja, the spirit of water and fertility, gives her the power to change the world through music. However, this power is only effective when her heart is pure. When a Brazilian slave trader makes a deal with the local king and kills or enslaves the people around Omonlola, a desire for revenge threatens to outweigh her positive strengths.

Musical theatre about love, betrayal and the injustices of slavery

Drawing inspiration from her ancestors, her family and Africa’s resilience, singer Angélique Kidjo tells a story that is a wake-up call to her audience.

In a 19th-century West-African village where slavery is in full swing, the young woman Omolola receives a god-given gift in secret. Yemandja, the spirit of water and fertility, gives her the power to change the world through music. However, this power is only effective when her heart is pure. When a Brazilian slave trader makes a deal with the local king and kills or enslaves the people around Omonlola, a desire for revenge threatens to outweigh her positive strengths.

Yemandja is a fairytale that combines family drama and historical thriller, and is drenched in themes like love, betrayal, honour, free will and the horrors and injustices of slavery. With this performance Angélique Kidjo shows her personal perspective, colored by her roots and childhood in Benin. The piece shows what happens when people are robbed of their culture. Kerry James Marshall, one of the great visual artists of our time, designed the set.

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dates

Thu June 16 8:30 PM

Fri June 17 8:30 PM

Sat June 18 8:30 PM

Prices

  • default from € 30
  • CJP/student € 15

language & duration

  • English surtitles: Dutch

  • 1 hour 30 minutes (zonder pauze)

Meet the artist

After the performance on June 17, there will be a conversation led by Dorothy Blokland with choreographer Beatrice Capote and costume designer Kathy Perkins, among others.

  • © Doug Mason

  • © Doug Mason

  • © Doug Mason

  • © Doug Mason

  • © Doug Mason

  • © Doug Mason

  • © Rasean Davonte Johnson

  • © Naïma Hebrail Kidjo

  • © Mary Jane Marcasiano

  • © Kerry James Marshall

  • © Kathy A. Perkins

  • © Darryl Archibald

  • © Cheryl Lynn Bruce

  • © Beatrice Capote

  • © Angelique Kidjo

credits

concept Angélique Kidjo, Jean Hebrail, Naïma Hebrail Kidjo text Naïma Hebrail Kidjo music Angélique Kidjo, Jean Hebrail direction Cheryl Lynn Bruce set design Kerry James Marshall costumes Mary Jane Marcasiano lights Kathy A. Perkins MassMoCA, Rasean Davonte Johnson, Beckie Kravetz, Jake Eisner, Arts Emerson, The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College, Brown Arts Institute, Cal Performances, Ruth and Stephen Hendel, Holland Festival, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Schwarzman Center choreography Beatrice Capote sound Kumi Ishizawa dramaturgy Iyvon E. sensitivity specialist Ann C. James synoptic texts and dramaturgy Andrea Zee production stage manager Meghan Maureen Williams cast Angélique Kidjo, Briana Brooks, Michael de Souza, April Nixon, George L Brown, John Carlin, Frank Lawson, Kendrick Marion, Hallie Chapman, Rheaume Crenshaw musical direction John Samorian keyboard John Samorian guitar Dominic James base Michael Olatuja percussion Magatte Sow music supervisor Darryl Archibald stage manager Violet Tafari executive production Xtina Parks production The OFFICE performing arts + film with support by W.L.S. Spencer Foundation

This performance is made possible by

Meet Angélique Kidjo

Meet Angélique Kidjo

The French-Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo is associate artist of this year’s Holland Festival, together with theatre director Nicolas Stemann. Shows to be featured at the festival in June are Mother Nature, Yemandja and Ifé.

Watch our conversation with Angélique here and click here to read a conversation about her work and motivations.