||w/ Angelique Kidjo
We have twice presented this exceptional artist (who is rather huge in Europe), and we are very excited to do it again – after all, pure class such as this does not come along every day. And it is not often Bluesfest has the chance to offer its stage to a patron of UNICEF – and Bluesfest is mighty proud to do so in 2011. When Afro-German songstress AYO is not storming Europe and the USA with platinum and gold album sales, her duties as Godmother of UNICEF sees her raising money to promote the right to education for all children in the world. This soul, folk and reggae artist, was born in Germany of a Nigerian father and a Romanian gypsy mother. Her rich cultural background is reflected in her musical influences as she grew up amidst Pink Floyd and Fela Kuti, the Soul Children and Bob Marley. Her nomadic lifestyle has since been split between London, Paris and New York. AYO’s third album will be released in 2011. Wise people believe it will do what her first album Joyful in 2006, and her 2008 follow up Gravity at Last both achieved – a screaming run up the European album charts. If you have seen AYO at Bluesfest before, you’ll know what we’re talking about, and if you haven’t – simply, be there.