Music Genres in Africa
By Akinbola Esther
Music is a big deal in Africa and it has helped in telling their Stories. There are quite a number of music genres in Africa but this is just a few amongst them.
Afrobeat, the most popular genre of music, involves the combination of elements of West African musical styles such as fuji music and highlife with American jazz and later soul and funk influences, with a focus on chanted vocals, complex intersecting rhythms, and percussion.
Fela Kuti Anikulapo is known as the king of Afrobeat, he was able to combine traditional Nigerian music, jazz and highlife. Today, it is often mixed with hip hop or rap and it is well known outside of Africa
Apala (or akpala) is a music genre which was created by the Indigenous Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa.
The Assiko is a popular Rhythmic dance from the South of Cameroon. The name is coined from two words, ISI, changed into ASSI meaning Earth and KOO meaning Foot.
Bikutsi is a Musical genre from Cameroon. The dance developed from the traditional music of the Beti, or Ewondo, people, who live around the city of Yaoundé. In the mid-20th century, it was spoken about at every side of West Africa
• Benga music
Benga, popular in Kenya, is a mix of contemporary music with traditional Kenyan Luo music in which the guitar is played to mimic a Luo eight-string lyre called a nyatiti.
It evolved between the late 1940s and late 1960s, in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi.
• Bongo Flava (Tanzania)
Bongo Flava, which can also be called Tanzanian Music, developed in the 90s. It is the combination of American Hip Hop and Tanzania styles such as taarab and dansi. It also adds a little bit of reggae, R&B and Afrobeat to give a distinct style of music.
• Chimurenga music
This genre of music is very popular in Tanzania. It amalgamated during the early 70s and was pioneered by singer-composer Thomas Mapfumo. He fused elements of traditional Shona drumming and mbira music of the Shona people with Afro Rock to form a distinct style.
• Desert Blues
The people living in the Sahara desert have been making blues music long before it got famous in the West. This sounds absolutely brilliant!
Popular music genre from Nigeria based on traditional Muslim Yoruba music.
Music style and dance from Cape Verde based on the accordion.
Highlife is a genre from Ghana and popular in all of English-speaking West Africa.
Fun and extremely popular among Ghana’s youth is the fusion of highlife and hip hop.
Harmonious and gentle a cappella sung by all male choirs from the South African Zulu.
Kizomba means “party” in the Angolan language. The dance style is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and North America.
South Africa’s black youth loves this new mix of house music and African sounds.
This urban dance music from the capital city of Cameroon reminds of Soukous.
Senegal’s most popular music style. Mbalax is a brilliant fusion of traditional griot praise songs and sabar rhythms with modern Western elements.