"Once In A Lifetime"
VIDEO PREMIERE: West African singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo re-imagines Talking Heads’ “Once In A Lifetime”
By Erin White
May 9, 2018
Really excited for today’s first premiere, the jubilant cover of Talking Heads “Once In A Lifetime” by the fantastic Angelique Kidjo. The surrealistic video opens in a world of workplace monotony that’s quickly broken up by blasting horns, an intense West African groove, and the ecstatic vocals of Angelique, transforming the lifeless scene into a raucous bacchanal sanctioned by Angelique’s joyous proclamations. Frankly, Talking Heads never sounded so good or interesting and lucky for us, the track is just a preview of Angelique’s reclaiming of the Talking Heads entire ‘Remain in Light’ album, out June 8. But for now, check out the epic video for “Once In A Lifetime,” below!
“In the 1970s, under the dictatorship in my home country of Benin, it was really difficult to find music to listen to from the rest of the world,” Angelique Kidjo. “When I went into exile in Paris in 1983, I discovered so much new music, and among them was the song “Once In A Lifetime”. Initially, it felt strange to me. People said it was Rock and Roll, but it felt African somehow. When I performed in New York in 1992 at SOB’s, David Byrne was the first American artist to come see my show. Many years later, I discovered that Brian Eno and The Talking Heads had been influenced by Fela Kuti and studied John Miller Chernoff’s book African Rhythm and African Sensibility about the power of African music.
“Once In A Lifetime” was released at the start of the Reagan presidency, and you feel the anguish and anger in its lyrics. I feel the same tension in today’s political climate. Bringing “Once In A Lifetime” back to the African continent, with the help of superstar producer Jeff Bhasker, Black Panther’s percussionist Magatte Sow and guitarist Dominic James, feels so right today. Luc Besson helped me find the right energy for the video when he introduced me to the diverse young community of the students of his Film school at La Cité Du Cinema in Paris. The young Antoine Paley, with the help of the students, directed the video like a celebration of the strong and eternal spirit of African music.”