Yesterday, after working out at the gym, I played African music on my smartphone as I exited the building. A middle-aged White lady who was unknowingly behind me heard the music and said, “That’s nice music, happy music.” I had never characterized African music as happy music, though I agree that it evokes happiness.
I mentioned that the lady was White to contrast that many African Americans, and other races, are not familiar with the beauty of African music, especially West African music.
Many Latinos are unaware that Salsa music originated in Africa. Salsa is a set of Afro-Caribbean rhythms fused with jazz and other styles. The truth is that its origins have always been much debated, although as a general rule it is mentioned that it comes from a fusion that came from Africa in the Caribbean when they heard European music and wanted to mix it with their drums.
I have recently found more White people in tune with African music than my own people, in restaurants, in grocery stores, outdoor events, etc. Just last week I met a White young man who was very familiar with West African music from having worked in Africa, while in the Peace Corps.
Furthermore, many African Americans are full of shizo, not knowing much at all about African culture, though they claim the title of ‘being woke’! Many would embrace popular Black music that propagates negative images and messages before attempting to discover music directly associated with our beautiful culture.
This is yet one more reason why I honestly can admit that my people, Black people, have work of our own to do before screaming racism and expecting the world to become more equitable, just for the asking. Many of us perpetuate racism by shying away from our own culture, among many other things. There is no excuse for this especially with AI-controlled Music Streaming, Google, and Africans living in the United States around us. …No excuse! That’s how I discovered many of the African artists that I share with you.
The other day, I was again surprised to find that in one of my favorite pizza shops, young White college kids were familiar with Burna Boy, and were playing Nigerian music while working.
I am giving you an opportunity to expand your musical horizons with beautiful African music. For the unfamiliar, Youssou N’Dour will be very pleasant to the ears. You may first remember his song with Neneh Cherry, Seven Seconds Away. I was enamored by the line “I feel like a bird today…”, in So Many Men.
Youssou N’dour – BIRIMA – VIDEO BATACLAN 2017 – Jan 8, 2018 – Youssou Ndour
I listen to African music most of the time, and I challenge you to, as well, especially African Americans. This puts on display, another aspect of our culture’s beauty. If we are going to make the world a smaller, and better place, we must be more inviting to other cultures outside of our own. This same principle applies to opinions and perspectives. We should make the effort to hear other opinions, not only the one propagated on us by media, just as music is.
Most of my music listening is spent listening to International music, namely Caribbean and African. I’ve become so familiar with African music that I can now distinguish the distinction in the sound of music from various regions.
I love Nigerian popular music, which has funky beats, electronics, and is infused with Caribbean and Hip-Hop styles.
My Nigerian Music Recommendations – Check out these artists to start, then let your streaming service’s AI find others for you: WizKid, Flavour, Maleek Berry, Davido, Tekno, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and Rema
NAIJA MUSIC 2021. NIGERIAN SONGS PLAYLIST 2021
South African popular music infuses house music with African rhythms.
My South African Music Recommendations – Check out these artists to start, then let your streaming service’s AI find others for you: Master KG, Nasty C, Kabza De Small, DJ Maphorisa, Prince Kaybee, DJ Black Coffee, Kwesta, and Elaine. Traditional Artists: Hug Masekela, Miriam Mekeba, Brenda Fassie, Lucky Debe, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, etc. List of South African musicians
South African House Mix Ep. 3 | 2021 | Mixed by DJ TKM – Dec 25, 2020 – TKM EXTRA
Caribbean music now is coming from all over the world, but I still stick mainly to artists from Jamaica and England. I am hearing a lot more Hip-Hop influences and collaborations in reggae dancehall music, but I still also love older culture music, which will always be timeless to me.
My Reggae Music Recommendations – Check out these artists to start, then let your streaming service’s AI find others for you: Jah Cure, Gyptian, Protoje, Collie Buddz, Damian Marley, Ziggy Marley, Kymani Marley, Julian Marley, Skip Marley, Bob Marley, Stephen Marley, Chronixx, Alkaline, Koffee, Kabaka Pyramid, Richie Spice, Popcaan, Stick Figure, and Busy Signal.
I listen to Ghana’s Afrobeats Music but not enough to provide recommendations honestly. Ghanian music randomly shuffles in on Pandora, but I am not familiar with the artists. The sound is also a fusion of African tribal beats, hip-hop, rap, and dancehall. I find it harder than Nigerian music, though slightly similar in style.
Despite being overshadowed by neighboring Nigeria, Ghana Afrobeat music has risen out of the shadows of larger African music scenes into creating a handful of leading Ghana Afro Popstars, despite the amount not being as large as other nations within the continent. Regardless of what country has the largest amount of international stars, Ghanaian Afrobeats is probably producing the best music in the continent of Africa. Read More
New Ghana Music 2021 ♫ Today’s Top Ghana Songs Playlist
With regard to West African music, music from Senegal specifically, it is both relaxing and inspiring for me. I listen to it often before and after meditation, and while creating.
Senegalese music infuses jazz and African rhythms, around songs about love, humanity, culture, and spirit. My favorite Senegalese artist is Youssour N’Dour. His voice is melodic. So much so that, though I cannot understand the languages, I can feel the emotions and am moved!
Youssou N’Dour sings in several different languages, including in English, as do most African musical artists.
By listening to Youssou so often on Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube, Artificial Intelligence introduced me to other Senegalese and African artists who are equally as talented, enthusiastic, and love-minded.
Mbalax (or mbalakh) is the national popular dance music of Senegal and the Gambia. Mbalax has its sacred origins in the Serer people’s ultra-religious, ultra-conservative njuup music tradition—and their sacred ndut rite ceremonies. By the 1970s, it became a fusion with other popular music from the African diaspora, the West, and afropop such as jazz, soul, Latin, Congolese rumba, and rock blended with sabar, the traditional drumming and dance music of the Wolof[dubious – discuss] of Senegal. The genre’s name derived from accompanying rhythms used in sabar called mbalax. Read More
“Music has the power to bring the world together. Its messages transcend having to understand languages. The artists’ Emotions, Passion, and Spirit are universally vivid to all who listens to their music.” Kevy
I have listed profiles and music from some of the artists that I selected for this post. The list would be too long to include all of them. But if you begin with this list on a music streaming service, surely you will be introduced to others. This is one unexpected pleasure of AI. Kevy
Youssou N’Dour – Bercy Paris – LIVE HD – Jun 24, 2014 – Zycopolis TV
Youssou N’Dour – Senegalese
Youssour N’Dour (French: [jusu (ɛ)nduʁ]; also known as Youssour Madjiguène Ndour; born 1 October 1959) is a Senegalese singer, songwriter, composer, occasional actor, businessman, and politician. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine described him as, “perhaps the most famous singer alive” in Senegal and much of Africa. From April 2012 to September 2013, he was Senegal’s Minister of Tourism.
N’Dour helped develop a style of popular Senegalese music known by all Senegambians (including the Wolof) as mbalax, a genre that has sacred origins in the Serer music njuup tradition and ndut initiation ceremonies. He is the subject of the award-winning films Return to Gorée (2007) directed by Pierre-Yves Borgeaud and Youssour N’Dour: I Bring What I Love (2008) directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, which were released around the world.
In 2006, N’Dour was cast as Olaudah Equiano in the film Amazing Grace.
Cheikh Lô – Senegalese
He was born to Senegalese parents in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, and began playing drums and singing at an early age. In 1976, he joined Orchestre Volta Jazz, a Bobo variety band that played Cuban and Congolese pop songs, as well as traditional Burkinabé music. Lô moved to Senegal in 1978, performing in several mbalax outfits. By then, the Zairean sound was in full flower, Camerounian makossa was coming on strong, and reggae had entered the mix, and Lô absorbed all of these various musical genres. In 1985, he was playing guitar with numerous Côte d’Ivoire and French musicians, which led him to record material in Paris, France, in 1987. After his band dissolved, Lô remained in Paris as a session musician, developing his own sound, described as a mix of mbalax, reggae, and soukous influences. He spent most of his time in recording studios developing his talent. His casual contacts with Zaire’s most successful progressive singer, Papa Wemba, were especially memorable. “I was a drummer. So, when there was a group that came and didn’t have a drummer, I would practice with them. Papa Wemba’s drummer was also a businessman, so if he wasn’t there, I would help out. He’s from the school of Tabu Ley, and when I was young, I listened to Tabu Ley a lot.” In 1995, Youssour N’Dour offered to produce Lô’s debut album, Ne La Thiass, which became a global success.
Warico – July 21, 2021 – Cheikh Lô – Topic
In 2000, Lô sang alongside Ibrahim Ferrer on “Choco’s Guajira”, from Cuban pianist Rubén González’s album Chanchullo. In 2002, he appeared on two tracks of the Red-Hot Organization’s tribute album to Fela Kuti, Red Hot, and Riot. He collaborated with Les Nubians and Manu Dibango on one of the tracks, “Shakara / Lady (Part Two).” Lô is a member of the Baye Fall, a movement within the Mouride Sufi order of Islam. As such, he has dreadlocks, which are part of the order’s customs. The reggae influence in his music, along with his dreadlocks, often leads to the misinterpretation that he is Rastafarian.
Cheikh Lô – Full Performance (Live on KEXP) – May 13, 2020 – KEXP
Geoffrey Oryema – Uganda
Geoffrey Oryema (16 April 1953 – 22 June 2018) was a Ugandan musician. In 1977 after the murder of his father, Erinayo Wilson Oryema, who was a cabinet minister in the government of Idi Amin, he began his life in exile. At the age of 24, and at the height of Amin’s power, Oryema was smuggled out of the country in the trunk of a car. He sang in the languages of his youth, Swahili and Acholi, the languages of his lost country, the “clear green land” of Uganda, and he also sang in English and French. Oryema earned his international reputation on the release of his second album, Beat the Border. He had collaborated with Peter Gabriel and others and was backed by French musicians including Jean-Pierre Alarcen (guitar) and Patrick Buchmann (drums, percussion, backing vocals), touring with WOMAD in Australia, the USA, Japan, Brazil, and Europe. In 1994 the band performed at Woodstock 94 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the legendary festival.
Geoffrey Oryema – Makambo – Nov 27, 2017 – Pagpang Hupaw
Gabriel’s record label, Real World, helped with the first three of Oryema’s albums, before his move to Sony International, a label established in France, where Oryema had lived since his exile. In July 2005, he performed at the LIVE 8: Africa Calling concert in Cornwall, and with 1 Giant Leap at the Live 8 Edinburgh concert. He resided in Paris, France until his death. His ashes were delivered to Anaka.
Geoffrey Oryema – Land Of Anaka (Official Video) – Jan 23, 2019 – Real World Records
Salif Keita – Mali
Salif Keita was born a traditional prince in the village of Djoliba. He was born to the Keita royal family, who trace their lineage to Sundiata Keita, founder of the Mali Empire. He was cast out by his family and ostracized by the community because of his albinism, a sign of bad luck in Mandinka culture. He decided to pursue music in his teenage years, further distancing him from his family as that was against the occupational prohibitions of his noble status. In 1967, he left Djoliba for Bamako, where he joined the government-sponsored Super Rail Band de Bamako. In 1973, Keita joined the group Les Ambassadeurs (du Motel de Bamako). Keita and Les Ambassadeurs fled political unrest in Mali during the mid-1970s and subsequently changed the group’s name to Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux. The reputation of this band grew internationally in the late-1970s, leading to Keita pursuing a solo career in the following years. He is the father of Paralympian athlete Nantenin Keita.
RAICES – Salif Keita & Cesaria Evora – Ismael Lo – Sona Jobarteh – Jan 3, 2020 – ANTON GABRIEL MARTINEZ
Due to political unrest, Keita and his bandmates fled Mali in the mid-1970s. They settled in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where they struggled financially and often had to rent equipment to perform shows. The band (now named Les Ambassadeurs Internationaux) steadily grew in popularity in the ensuing years. Their 1978 album, Mandjou, became an overnight success in West Africa.
In 1976, Sékou Touré, the President of Guinea, made Keita an Officer of Guinea’s National Order of Merit. The President had been a fan of Keita and the band’s since they met at an official visit in 1974. Touré had remained a fan and supporter even after they fled Mali. Wanting to reciprocate the honor, Keita composed the track “Mandjou” (featured on the eponymous 1978 album) as a praise song for Touré. However by the time the song was released, Touré had completely resorted to authoritarian rule and plunged his country into bloodshed and chaos. Keita still performs rearranged versions of “Mandjou”.
Keita moved to Paris in 1984 to reach a larger audience and to pursue a solo career. His music combined traditional West African music styles with influences from both Europe and the Americas.
At that time, Keita was famous in Africa and had a strong fan base among connoisseurs around the world. Soro became his international-breakthrough album in 1987. The project was produced by Ibrahima Sylla, a visionary who had already discovered dozens of African stars (and would later become the driving force behind Africando). The arrangements featured roiling rhythms, slightly nasal female backup choirs, and traditional percussion typical of Malian music.
Musical instruments that are commonly featured in Keita’s work include balafons, djembes, guitars, koras, organs, saxophones, and synthesizers. He performed at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert in 1988 to call for Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. In 1990, Keita contributed “Begin the Beguine” to the Cole Porter tribute/AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Blue, produced by the Red-Hot Organization.
Keita found success in Europe as one of the African stars of world music, but his work was sometimes criticized for the gloss of its production and for the occasional haphazard quality. Keita’s album La Différence was produced around the end of 2009. The work is dedicated to the struggle of the world albino community (victims of human sacrifice), for which Keita has been crusading all his life.
In one of the album’s tracks, the singer calls others to understand that “difference” does not mean “bad” and to show love and compassion towards albinos like everyone else: “I am black/ my skin is white/ so I am white and my blood is black [albino]/…I love that because it is a difference that’s beautiful”, “some of us are beautiful some are not/some are black some are white/all that difference was on purpose…for us to complete each other/let everyone get his love and dignity/the world will be beautiful.”
In 2001, Keita’s song “Tomorrow” was featured in the Will Smith film, Ali. La Différence won Keita one of the biggest musical awards of his career: the Best World Music 2010 at the Victoires de la musique.
In 2013, after what he described as “threats” from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign, he canceled a performance in Israel. He later published a letter on his Facebook page, stating that he decided to cancel the event because he was scared of “being harmed personally or professionally”, but clarified that he still “love[d] Israel”, slamming BDS as an “extremist group” who used “scare tactics and bullying”. In November 2018 he announced his retirement from recording at a concert in Fana, Mali. The album Un Autre Blanc, which was released at the concert, would be his last. Read More
Mandjou – July 24, 2018 – Salif Keita – Topic
(Translated From French To English – Google Translate)
Diogal is an author, composer, and performer. He composes and sings, in Wolof, songs at the crossroads of the traditional sounds of his country, Senegal, and contemporary Western music. After signing two cassettes in Senegal (Xariit Taffa and M’bar-yi), Diogal released two albums in France, Samba alla and Liir (at Célulloïd / Mélodie), praised by the press, supported by FIP and appreciated by professionals.
Sore – Nov 8, 2014 – Diogal – Topic
Diogal has collaborated with Lokua Kanza, Wasis Diop, Vincent Segal, Louis Winsberg, Loy Ehrlich, Didier Malherbe, Jean-Philippe Rikiel, Daby Touré, Dan Ar Braz … and has appeared, between 1999 and 2007, in many venues and festivals, in France and abroad (Baiser salé, Divan du Monde, Batofar, Glaz’Art, Grenier à Sons, Dapper Museum, French Cultural Center in Dakar …, Chorus des Hauts-de-Seine, Africolor, Primeurs de Massy, Jazz under the apple trees, AfriCajarc…).
DIOGAL – THIOW LI – Jan 17, 2011 – OUATPROD
Ismael Lo – Niger – Senegalese
Lô was born in Dogondoutchi, Niger on 30 August 1956, to a Senegalese father and a Nigerien mother. Shortly after Lo’s birth the family returned to Senegal where they settled in the town of Rufisque, near the capital Dakar. He plays guitar and harmonica and has been called “the Bob Dylan of Africa”. In the 1970s, Lo studied at the School of Art in Dakar. He later joined the popular group Super Diamono but left in 1984 to start a solo career. Over the next four years Lo recorded five popular solo albums.
Tajabone – July 31, 2018 – Ismaël Lô – Topic
Lo’s song “Tajabone” was featured in Pedro Almodóvar’s film All About My Mother.
In 2002, he was made a Knight of the Legion of Honor. His 2006 album Sénégal was recorded in Dakar, Paris, and London. Lo says of it, “Giving this album the title Sénégal was my way of paying tribute to my own country, in recognition of all its gifts to me”. The film Shake Hands with the Devil (2007), about the Rwandan genocide, starts with Lo’s song “Jammu Africa”.
Ismaël Lô – Dibi Rek (Original version-1994) – Nov 30, 2014 – Lewis Cal
ISMAEL LO – JAMMU AFRICA – Cape Town City Hall Sessions – Jun 5, 2012 – CapeTownShows
Thione Seck – Senegalese
Seck was born in Dakar on March 12, 1955. He was of Wolof descent and was raised Muslim. He first joined Orchestra Baobab in the 1970s. After a decade of performing with the group, he established Raam Daan. Seck’s album Orientation was one of four nominated for BBC Radio 3’s World Music Album of the Year in 2006. In much of his music, and notably on this album, Seck experiments with the use of Indian & Arabic scales. This supplements his laid-back vocals and the band’s intense sabar-driven rhythms and displaces the band’s more usual guitars, horns, and synthesizers. This album was made in collaboration with a range of more than 40 North African, Arab, and Indian musicians, playing diverse instruments and creating a fusion of styles. Seck has stated that Bollywood films were a longstanding musical influence for him, and the experiment in a fusion style reflects this. Other albums include XV Anniversary Live! (his second international release) and Daaly. Seck contributed “Laye M’Boup,” a tribute to the late Orchestre Baobab leader, to The Music in My Head soundtrack. He also wrote “Entends-tu le monde?” which was the lead single from Australian singer Tina Arena’s seventh studio album 7 vies. Seck died on March 14, 2021, in Dakar, two days after his 66th birthday. He suffered from an illness prior to his death. Read More
THIONE BALLAGO SECK BEST OF – Mar 1, 2021 – Disquad
Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey – Nigerian
Ebenezer Obey (born 3 April 1942 as Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obey-Fabiyi, MFR in Idogo, Nigeria), nicknamed the “Chief Commander”, is a Nigerian jùjú musician. Ebenezer Obey began his professional career in the mid-1950s after moving to Lagos. After tutelage under Fatai Rolling-Dollar’s band, he formed a band called The International Brothers in 1964, playing highlife–jùjú fusion. The band later metamorphosed into Inter-Reformers in the early-1970s, with a long list of Juju album hits on the West African Decca musical label. Obey began experimenting with Yoruba percussion style and expanding on the band by adding more drum kits, guitars, and talking drums.
Obey’s musical strengths lie in weaving intricate Yoruba axioms into dance-floor compositions. As is characteristic of Nigerian Yoruba social-circle music, the Inter-Reformers band excels in praise-singing for rich Nigerian socialites and business tycoons.
Obey, however, is also renowned for Christian spiritual themes in his music and has since the early-1990s retired into Nigerian gospel music ministry. It will be worthy of note to also say that Chief Commander just as he is fondly called by his fans, has played alongside popular gospel music veteran, Pastor Kunle Ajayi during his 30 years on stage concert in Lagos.
Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey What God Has Joined Together – Jan 5, 2016 – Adedeji Okunola
Hachalu Hundessa – Ethiopian – Oromia Region
Hachalu Hundessa was born in Ambo in Oromia Region, Ethiopia, to Gudatu Hora and Hundessa Bonsa in 1986. The son of Oromo parents, Hundessa grew up singing in school clubs and tending cattle. In 2003, at the age of 17, he was arrested for taking part in protests. He was imprisoned at Karchale Ambo for five years and later released in 2008. He was married to Fantu Demisse, with whom he has two daughters.
Hundessa composed and wrote most of the lyrics of his first album while he was in prison. The album, Sanyii Mootii, was released in 2009. In 2013, he toured the United States and released his second album, Waa’ee Keenyaa, which was the #1 best-selling African music album on Amazon Music. Hundessa revealed that he was working on his third album, Maal Mallisaa, a week before his death. In 2021, the album was released on the anniversary of his death.
Hundessa’s protest songs unified the Oromo people, encouraging them to resist oppression. His songs have been closely linked with anti-government resistance during the 2014–2016 Oromo protests. In December 2017, Hundessa sang at a concert in Addis Ababa that raised funds for 700,000 Oromo who were displaced by ethnic violence in Somali region. The concert was broadcast live by Oromia Broadcasting Network.
Hundessa was shot on the evening of 29 June 2020 at the Gelan Condominiums in Galan town, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. He was taken to Tirunesh Beijing General Hospital, where he died. Thousands of mourners gathered at the hospital, as police used tear gas to disperse crowds. Two people were shot dead, and seven others were injured during the singer’s funeral. Hundessa’s death sparked protests throughout the Oromia Region, leading to the deaths of approximately 160 people. At demonstrations in Adama, nine protesters were killed and another 75 were injured. Two people were shot to death in Chiro, while protesters in Harar toppled a statue of prince Makonnen Wolde Mikael.
On 30 June 2020, a statue of Emperor Haile Selassie in Cannizaro Park, Wimbledon, southwest London, was destroyed by Oromo protestors. Many people from Ethiopia’s ethnic Oromo group say they were oppressed under Haile Selassie’s reign. Hundessa’s uncle was killed in the clashes. Rights groups have said three protesters were killed by security forces, while a doctor in Dire Dawa town said he treated eight people with gunshots fired by security forces to disperse protests.
Hachalu Hundessa – Maalan Jira! **NEW**2015** (Oromo Music) – Jun 4, 2015 – Oromp3
At 9am, 30 June 2020, the internet in Ethiopia was largely taken down, a measure that was previously taken by the government during the unrest. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his condolences to Hundessa’s family, urging calm amid growing unrest. Media magnate and activist Jawar Mohammed responded to Hundessa’s death on Facebook, saying “They did not just kill Hachalu. They shot at the heart of the Oromo Nation, once again!!… You can kill us, all of us, you can never ever stop us!! NEVER!!”
After the murder of Hundessa ignited violence across Addis Ababa and other Ethiopian cities, Abiy hinted, without obvious suspects or clear motives for the killing, that Hundessa may have been murdered by outside forces set out to stir up trouble.
An Egyptian diplomat responded by saying that Egypt “has nothing to do with current tensions in Ethiopia”. Read More
Wanlov The Kubolor – Ghanaian Romanian
Emmanuel Owusu-Bonsu, known by his stage name Wanlov the Kubolor (born September 8, 1980, in Ploiești, Romania) is a Ghanaian-Romanian musician and film director born to an Akan father and a Romanian mother. Kubolor is a Ga word that essentially means truant but can be understood to be a wanderer or vagabond. He is the brother of the television show host, model, and musician Deborah Owusu-Bonsu. He attended Adisadel College. It was while he was at Adisadel that he began rapping his favorite lyrics with high school friends and performing the local circuit in Cape Coast and Takoradi. It was here that his enduring musical partnership with the songwriter M3NSA was formed. He then moved to the United States for college in 2000 where he attended the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. He dropped out after two years of studying computer science and business administration, to dedicate himself fully to his musical career.
FOKN Bois – Gimme Pinch – Aug 2, 2012 – Fokn Bois
Kubulor released his debut album “Green Card” in late 2007 on his return to Ghana after a 7-year stay in the USA. Wanlov the Kubolor has collaborated with Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, Ghana’s rap pioneer/Highlife legend, and Reggie Rockstone, the godfather of Hiplife, among other artists worldwide.
He has campaigned for the cause of OAfrica, a charity for out-of-home children and various similar causes, in particular, those linked to ecology or pollution in Ghana. In 2017, he told members of Blogging Ghana that he “is considering making a third installment to his Ghanaian Pidgin-English musical Coz Ov Moni”.
Wanlov the Kubolor – Never Go Change – May 19, 2015 – Wanlov the Kubolor
“…if the video makes no sense to you, it is because dumsor, pollution, poverty & corruption in ghana make no sense to me…” – Kubolor
Hugh Ramapolo Masekela (4 April 1939 – 23 January 2018) was a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, singer and composer who was described as “the father of South African jazz“. Masekela was known for his jazz compositions and for writing well-known anti-apartheid songs such as “Soweto Blues” and “Bring Him Back Home“. He also had a number-one US pop hit in 1968 with his version of “Grazing in the Grass“.
Hugh Ramapolo Masekela was born in the township of KwaGuqa in Witbank (now called Emalahleni), South Africa, to Thomas Selena Masekela, who was a health inspector and sculptor and his wife, Pauline Bowers Masekela, a social worker. His younger sister Barbara Masekela is a poet, educator and ANC activist. As a child, he began singing and playing piano and was largely raised by his grandmother, who ran an illegal bar for miners. At the age of 14, after seeing the 1950 film Young Man with a Horn (in which Kirk Douglas plays a character modelled on American jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke), Masekela took up playing the trumpet. His first trumpet was bought for him from a local music store by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid chaplain at St. Peter’s Secondary School now known as St. Martin’s School (Rosettenville).
Huddleston asked the leader of the then Johannesburg “Native” Municipal Brass Band, Uncle Sauda, to teach Masekela the rudiments of trumpet playing. Masekela quickly mastered the instrument. Soon, some of his schoolmates also became interested in playing instruments, leading to the formation of the Huddleston Jazz Band, South Africa’s first youth orchestra. When Louis Armstrong heard of this band from his friend Huddleston he sent one of his own trumpets as a gift for Hugh. By 1956, after leading other ensembles, Masekela joined Alfred Herbert‘s African Jazz Revue.
From 1954, Masekela played music that closely reflected his life experience. The agony, conflict, and exploitation faced by South Africa during the 1950s and 1960s inspired and influenced him to make music and also spread political change. He was an artist who in his music vividly portrayed the struggles and sorrows, as well as the joys and passions of his country. His music protested apartheid, slavery, government; the hardships individuals were living. Masekela reached a large population that also felt oppressed due to the country’s situation. Read More
Hugh Masekela – Estival Jazz Lugano 2009 – Oct 12, 2014 – Bela Biro
Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti; 15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997) also known as Abami Eda was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist. He is regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat, an African music genre that combines traditional Yoruba percussion and vocal styles with American funk and jazz. At the height of his popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa‘s most “challenging and charismatic music performers”. AllMusic described him as a “musical and sociopolitical voice” of international significance.
Kuti was the son of a Nigerian women’s rights activist, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. After early experiences abroad, he and his band Africa 70 (featuring drummer Tony Allen) shot to stardom in Nigeria during the 1970s, during which he was an outspoken critic and target of Nigeria’s military juntas. In 1970, he founded the Kalakuta Republic commune, which declared itself independent from military rule. The commune was destroyed in a 1978 raid. Since his death in 1997, reissues and compilations of his music have been overseen by his son, Femi Kuti. Read More
Fela Kuti – Coffin for Head of State – Mar 31, 2011 – N3PH3SH
The Bhundu Boys were a Zimbabwean band that played a mixture of chimurenga music with American rock and roll, disco, country, and pop influences. Their style became known as jit, and is quite popular across Africa, with some international success, and has influenced later groups like Nehoreka and Mokoomba. British world music DJ Andy Kershaw said that at the height of their magical powers they were “…the single most natural, effortless, catchy pop band I’ve ever heard”; the BBC’s John Peel famously broke down in tears the first time, when he saw the band perform live.
The name came from bhundu (meaning “Bush” or “jungle”), in reference to the young boys who used to aid the nationalist guerrilla fighters in the 1970s war against the white minority government of what was then Rhodesia. Lead singer Biggie Tembo (Biggie Rodwell Tembo Marasha) was a Bhundu boy. Read More
BHUNDU BOYS – CHIMANIMANI (high quality audio) – Oct 31, 2010 – EZIFRESH
Additional African Music Videos
MEGARYA -Yared Negu & Millen Hailu – (BIRA-BIRO) New Ethiopian & Eritrean Music 2021(official Video) – Premiered Jun 25, 2021 – MEGARYA Entertainment
Ras Sheehama Inotila – June 6, 2016 – NawaZone Namibia
Wanlov the Kubolor – I Pass Inside – May 18, 2021 – Wanlov the Kubolor
They make you join in the madness, so you do not expose their insanity.
Burna Boy – Question feat. Don Jazzy [Official Music Video] – Aug 24, 2021 – Burna Boy
Best of You without a smile Youssou Ndour – Sep 14, 2009 – babscould
Kevy’s Youssou N’Dour & Other African Artists YouTube Playlist
Kevy’S Youssou N’Dour Radio Thumbs Up Pandora Playlist
42 Songs – Link – https://pandora.app.link/RThpG385lkb
Being cognizant of international visitors, I want to do all that I can to communicate wisdom globally for all.