Many have wondered what is it that makes Africans proud to be Africa. What exactly is it that makes Africans in tune with sound, words and power. The truth is, naturally, Africans are born with rhythm.
Oh yes, it comes natural with less effort. Research by scholars on pre-historic records proves that music and dance has been embedded in Africa culture since human kind and it is the same today. Music and dance in the 21st Century Africa is part of everyday culture and the lives of Africans. Out of the continent have emerged world class musicians who have achieved global success to the amazement of pundits who somehow doubted the authenticity and richness of African rhythms.
These artists have been idolized both at home and abroad. Some are living legends others have passed on leaving behind a legacy worthy of praise and admiration. From an authentic natural mystic appeal, some of these artists worthy of mention include the likes of Salif Keita, a master of West African rhythms and credited as one of the founders of the Afro-pop genre, Keita is world renowned for his unforgettable live performances, soaring vocals and his emotionally-fueled songs.
Another artist worth mentioning is South Africa’s Miriam Makeba who was affectionately nicknamed Mama Africa A Grammy Award-winning singer and a civil rights activist. In the 1960s, she was the first artist from Africa to popularize African music around the world. She is best known for the song "Pata Pata", first recorded in 1957 and released in the U.S. in 1967.
Many would remember Lucky Dube as the Bob Marley of Africa, but evidently Lucky was in a class of his own. He was hailed as the successor of Bob Marley to push the agenda of Rastafaria and peace around the globe forward. Lucky was one of South Africa’s best-selling artist and very outspoken against the then apartheid regime.
With all due respect, a list of this caliber anywhere cannot be complete with Nigeria’s own Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a singer-composer, trumpeter, sax and keyboard player, bandleader, and politician. Kuti was one of Africa's most controversial musicians and throughout his life he continued to fight for the rights of the common man despite vilification, harassment, and even imprisonment by the Nigerian government.
The list could go on and on, talk about the likes of Hugh Masakela, Manu Dibango,Youssou N'dour, and Osibisa from Ghana. These artist toured around the world promoting African music. They ignited the torch that is burning today among contemporary artist.
Fast forward to the late 90’s to present day 2015 and everything changes. The music scene in Africa is not just super-chaotic but flooded with immense talents that has taken the continent and the world by storm. Led by Nigeria and following closely on their heels is Ghana, the two West African nations together with regional hubs Southern and Eastern Africa, African music is now experiencing what pundits describe as the “soul of Africa”. Music is what is keeping Africa together. It has transcended beyond borders, lifting a majority of the youth out of poverty and being used as a tool to champion peace on the continent. It is truly the soul of Africa.
Some of these contemporary artist who are churning out platinum albums on the continent include P-Square, made up of identical twins, Peter and Paul Okoye, the duo began singing and dancing together back in their small Catholic high school in Jos, Nigeria. They were named Artistes of the Year at the 2010 Kora Awards and now bring in more than $150,000 per show.
D'Banj, the Koko Master, is another top Nigerian musician turning heads round. He was the first African artiste to sign with the music label GOODMusic, owned by Kanye West. The recipient of countless awards, D'Banj is known for his unique sound of dance music and afro beats.
And obviously we can’t leave out the African Queen man, 2 Face Idibia Nigerian singer and songwriter, 2Face Idibia, began his career as a member of the hip hop group, Plantashun Boyz, but went solo in 2004 after the group split. His most popular song, African Queen, took off after being featured in the movie Phat Girlz in 2006, but all of his five albums have been very well received around the world. As mentioned earlier the continent currently is led by Nigeria with little competition from Ghana.
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