Top 49 African Musicians

By none other than WhiteAfrican.com

Image by none other than WhiteAfrican.com

Why Have I Created This Post?

NB: I wrote this post about 3-4 months ago, and it has been simmering in my archives for quite a while. Yesterday I realized, this probably wasn’t the type of post that should remain in the archives, ….so enjoy :)

Each week I try increasing traffic to my blog by attempting new means. Some time ago I realized that my blog and I have been blessed because our readers have promoted us by word-of-mouth. Media appearances on this blog are examples of our good fortune.

But How to Encourage and Advance Word-of-Mouth Promotion?

I believe that list articles are “cool” and that just about everyone from lands of the ebony-skinned appreciates and loves music.

So I decided to experiment with an article of such format and I hope that you, my esteemed readers, would be kind enough to spread the word among all your friends on Facebook or through email. However, do that ONLY IF you think that it is enjoyable, entertaining, informative and worth discussing and sharing.

And for that I thank you in advance.

1) Zangalewa

I have no idea what this Cameroonian marching band was talking about and neither do millions of people throughout Africa. That, however, did not stop us from absolutely loving and adoring them — a true testament to the fact that good music has no linguistic barriers.

The following words were a huge part of millions of African children’s lives,

“Zamina! Zamina! Zamina!
Tibeee!Zangalewa!”

2) Nameless
It all began when a man by the name of David Mathenge tried to compete in a Kenyan radio contest but could not think of a name for himself.  So, to be named or to remain “Nameless” was the big question?  Since then he had produced an endless stream of hits, one successful year after another and so on and on. You have to  admit that an artist is gifted when blatant people such as Jamali  have the audacity to steal his song and it still becomes a hit.

“Nameless” David Mathenge is also, in fact, a magnificent live performer.

3) Malaika

One of the most successful singing bands in African history is Malaika. They are world-class vocalists who continually take their Kwaito beat to the top of musical charts, and their legendary live performances wow audiences.

All the hype and eloquent accolades you have ever heard about Malaika are well deserved and then some. But do not merely take my word for it.  Check out the track below and I challenge you to look me straight in the eye and tell me that they are not talented.

Check out their bios here.

4) Fela Kuti
All an entertainer ever really needs is one great gimmick to perpetually be cemented in the minds of his or her listeners.

Fela Kuti was born and raised and later made his fame and was tremendously revered in Nigeria. However, younger Africans outside of Nigeria will forever remember him as the man who took the expression, “Bang! Bang!” (no guns are involved here, by the way) and turned it into an international musical hit.

Fela Kuti, the Afrobeat legend, is one of the most influential musicians in history with eccentricity to match his fame.

5) Kanda Bongo Man
As one of many soukouss musicians on this list, Kanda Bongo Man has now fallen off the charts to make room for newer artists but he was definitely a multi-faceted icon in the past. To young Africans, this singing and dancing star from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was what Michael Jackson is to the young in America. To women, Mr. “kwassa Kwassa” was a sex symbol.

Check out his Wikipedia page here.

6) Youssou N’Dour
He is one of the few African artists who has managed to transcend the beautiful sub-continent and become a true international superstar. If you are having a large global event and you want an African megastar, call on N’Dour.

The extent of his success is marked by topping the charts in the mecca of music, the United States, when he produced the track “7 Seconds” with Neneh Cherry.

Check out his official website.

7) Mr. Nice
The landscape of East African music can not be spoken of without mentioning the sweet, mellifluous  Bongo flavored “dish.”  With his native language being Kiswahili, Mr. Nice is a legend who rocked everyone in East Africa from Dar es Salam to Kampala.

This talented ex-gardener from Zanzibar is included in this article because he is one of the pioneers of the “Takeu style” that is so prevalent in  Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. His lyrics, such as “Kuku kapanda baiskeli” which literally means the hen climbed the bicycle, are misunderstood by listeners outside of Tanzania but they were, nevertheless, appreciated for their humor and entertainment factor.

8 ) Miriam Makeba
The grandmother of African music and quite possibly the most successful person on the list, Mrs. Makeba is famous for, among other things, being one of the musical voices against Apartheid. In addition, together with Harry Belafonted, she is credited for creating an international hit out of the Kiswahili song “Malaika” as well as her own billboard chart topper, “Pata Pata”.

Exceptfor Mobutu, she has the longest name I have ever seen. Check out her Wikipedia page here.

Below is, in my opinion, one of the greatest tracks Makeba had ever made.

9) Koffi Olomide

The DRC man with the velvety deep voice whom I will forever remember for teaching me an alternative use for handkerchiefs — pull them out and wave them from side to side as you slowly ride the lingala beat.

He has had an abundance of hits including “Andrada” and “Effrakata”, and is yet another legendary musician who solidified the reputation and popularity of soukous/rumba/lingala.

Since I do not speak his language, I can enjoy the music and the visual performance without being exposed to the content of his lyrics which are reputed to be quite vulgar.

10) 2face Idibia
This man made his reputation as one of sub-Sahara’s greats when he came out with the ode to African women entitled “African queen.” He has sold millions of albums in his home of Naija, topped charts throughout Africa and is one of the few artists to catch the eye of the Koras, Platinum success and MTV music awards, though of course the Kora meant the most :D .


Check out the remixed version of “African Queen.”

11) Angela Kidjo
This Benin songstress is another artist who far transcended the bounds of the African continent to become an international superstar. Her hits include “Agolo,” “Ayé,” and “Batonga.”

If you need an international African star to work with Joss Stone or open for Josh Groban, Angela may just be your answer.

Check out her Wikipedia page here.

12) Brenda Fassie

The late great Fassie is a legendary songstress who will be sorely missed not only in the shacks of South Africa but all over the world. This woman had a mesmerizing charisma that she brought to all her stage appearances. Her talent was only matched by her capriciousness and, at times, self-destructive behavior.

East and Central Africans will forever remember her for bridging the African gap by singing in Kiswahili in the track, “Nakupenda!

13) Jua Cali
When in 2000 Jua Cali joined forces with a man named Clemo they did not just create a different sound, they created the Genge movement which defines a large segment of East African music. Although Genge lyrics fall far behind those of Shakespeare, their talents and ability to rock audiences all over the world are undeniable.

Jua Cali has been recognized by many awards committees widely spanning from Chaguo la Teeniez in Kenya to the MOBOs of London.

14) Magic System
Some recording artists have to build entire careers to be remembered as part of Africa’s soundtrack while others produce just one track that is so hot, that not only does everyone in Africa program it on their rewind selector to be listened to over and over again, but it is also recognized as an African classic around the globe.

Magic System managed to do just that with their song “Gauo” which has come to mean many things to many different people. In Kenya, for instance, this song is called “Taulo” which means towel.

15) Awilo Longomba
Awilo is another one of the bigger-than-life soukous artists who comes out of the DRC and sings lyrics which would probably not be sanctioned by my church leaders. In his videos, this artist has broken every fashion etiquette imaginable. But, having produced the hot tracks that Awilo had, redefining fashion is quite acceptable.

“Je ma pelle, comma tuta pelle.” Yes, my years of studying French were useless but you have to admit that you too learned some of it when Awilo released the track below.

16) STL


STL represents the type of artist who can only exist in this age of globalization because she has earned the admiration and love of the African community while living most of her life outside of Africa.

This young woman raps from Norway and embeds messages into her rhyming lyrics as is evident in her  track “Makelele” which was released in the midst of the Kenyan election violence.

17) Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi
Until I landed in Australia I had never heard of Tuku. Once I did, it became clear that the man is a legend. A demi-deity in his land of Zimbabwe, Mtukudzi has had a long, prolific career as an artist, musician, social commentator and a political activist.

He has collaborated with younger African artists such as Eric Wainaina, and a ticket to one of his shows costs enough to feed an impoverished family for a long while.

Find more information on him at Tuku Music.

18) Kalamashaka

It is often said that “a man will never forget his first.” The people of East Africa will probably never forget these brothers who first came out of the ghettos of Kenya and brought to light a new form of art: Hip Hop in their national language Kiswahili. Every other Hip Hop artist who has since rapped in Kiswahili owes a debt to the pioneering of Kalamashaka who have done everything from recording in Sweden to working with international acts such as Dead Prez.

19) Papa Wemba
An absolute legend in the world of soukous, Papa is yet another musician who has transcended his art and became a phenomenon larger than any country or continent could contain. Papa Wemba will forever be special to me for his smooth, seductive and high pitched voice. Who would have ever thought that those three adjectives could go together when referring to a male vocalist?

He may have seen his share of hard times, but do not let that diminish your enjoyment and admiration for this great pioneer in the world of rumba.

20) Yvonne Chaka Chaka
This is yet another great South African artist who has been part of the soundtrack of millions of African youths.

Until I started researching this article, I hadn’t even realized that I had heard the song Umqombothi before. I am certain that many of you, outside of South Africa, will also recognize it although you may not know that it is Umqombothi that you are listening to. And, according to SABC3 , she is one of the greatest South Africans. Visit: <!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:”"; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SABC3%27s_Great_South_Africans.

Check out her website which is appropriately called  Princess of Africa. And, by the way, don’t you think she looks phenomenal in this picture?

21) African Americans

Africans have a real love-hate relationship with their cousins in the United States. You will rarely hear of Africans who traveled to the United States and came back with NO emotional reactions or even neutral ones toward their American brothaz and sistaz or niggaz and bitches, depending on who you talk to. They either absolutely love them or utterly despise them.

Furthermore, there is no denying that with the might of the American economy behind them, African Americans are probably the most powerful cultural force in human history — and not just in music and dance although their greatest prominence is undeniable in those areas. African Americans starting with the songs of slavery and the underground railroad and continuing on to the Negro spirituals, the Blues, the Jazz, the rock and roll all the way to the R&B and Hip Hop of today. Let us give credit where credit is due — our cousins are cultural champions.

22) Jose Chameleone
If you think that promoting the arts in primary and high schools is ridiculous, think again. And if you are still not convinced, Chameleone can very easily prove you wrong. Getting his own start in a school music competition, this Ugandan now sits at the peak of his success throughout East Africa. It all started at the turn of the millennium when he joined forces with Redsan (also on this list) to create the track Bageya.

One year later, he collaborated with the production powerhouse, Ogopa DJs, and recorded the mega Kiswahili hit, Mama Mia. Since then he has expanded and diversified to work with Swahili Nation, Bebe Cool and even moved further South and generated music for the Zimbambwan market.

23) Mandoza
Mduduzi Tshabalala was born in Soweto in 1978 and, according to an SABC poll, is ranked as the 77th greatest individual in South Africa.

His raspy voice has resulted in a multi-platinum status and a crossover appeal among white as well as black music lovers in South Africa. He has toured all over the world and even paid a visit to Australia.

24) E-sir:
He is quite possibly the most successful music artist that Kenya has ever spawned. E-sir is a native of the South C estate who distinguished himself from his fellow youth in Nairobi by taking command and acquiring fluency in Kiswahili, both on and off the mic.

He only released one album prior to his premature demise, but that album is an impressive collection of highly admired modern African music and had since become tremendously respected as well as commercially successful.

25) Lucky Dube
He is the greatest reggae musician to come out of Africa but was tragically gunned down in October of 2007. This artistic native of South Africa released deeply poignant and socioeconomically relevant music for more than 20 years.

Lucky Dude achieve something that only a truly great artist can — he gained respect and loving admiration of people from all over the world. Even American rapper Nas lamented his death when he addressed an extraordinarily diverse audience.

Check out his official site and below is a favorite of mine.

26) Sarafina
“Sarafina” started out as a stage show written by Mbongeni Ngema. The musical, which was based on the Soweto Uprisings of 1976, was eventually converted into a successful Hollywood movie of the same name.

Growing up, this movie made a huge impact on me as it did on many other youths. Countless children and adolescents around the world were heard singing “Freedom is coming tomorrow” in the early 1990s.

The Broadway show and the Hollywood movie made Leleti Khumalo a star.

Check out the Sarafina IMDB Page Here.

27) Watoto Children’s Choir

This group of young, impoverished youngsters from Uganda was assembled by Pastor’s Gary and Marilyn Skinner. Besides the entertainment factor, the Watoto Children’s Choir makes two significant statements:

1) A geopolitical statement and the relationship between Africa, its citizens, the Western world and foreign aide.

2) A simpler statement of fact that a group of young talented kids can sing and move adult audiences to tears.

28) Soweto Gospel Choir

I had the pleasure and good fortune to see this amazing troupe when they performed in Melbourne, Australia as part of their international tour. I had already displayed my groupie-love and expressed my admiration for the vocal talents of South Africans but my appreciation increased when I first saw the stage show, “Gumboots,” where the Gumboot dance was performed. To top it all off, the Soweto Gospel Choir heightened my demeanor to a state of utter awe. Today, I have no doubt that South African performers are head and shoulders above the rest of Africa.

Find their official website right here.

29) Akon

Why does he call himself the Polish Prince? Feel free to share your answer if you have one.

Akon is one of the few global superstars whose video, “Don’t Matter,” is the most watched videos in Youtube history (displayed below).

His life, his African heritage and roots, are completely out in the open and discussed often by many. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about Akon — there is enough information about him out on the Internet: the good as well as the bad.

30) Daudi Kabaka
The sadly late Daudi Kabaka is one of the great foundations upon which East African music is built. We may at times forget to appreciate those who came before us but we really shouldn’t.

He was a Zilizopendwa a.k.a. a classic in every sense of the word.

31) Vusi Mahlasela
Sometimes there’s a need to talk while at other times  there’s a need to just shut up and listen.

This guy is the soul music man! Shhhhhhh! Listen!

32) Hugh Masekela
Hugh is one of the patriarchs of South African music. Besides being a former husband of Miriam Makeba, he is also one of the creative forces behind Queen Makeba’s success. And all that is just an added bonus to his own absolutely amazing musical career.

I love when stories are told in music. Below, Hugh tells a story about the trains that took African workers away from their children to go work as peons in the apartheid system.

Get a drink, pull up a chair and enjoy both, the video and the audio.

33) Cheering squads, rioters and protestors

There would be no African music without mobs that either sang and chanted whenever the-powers-that-be acted up or chanted and sang during every sports event.

That is a simple fact and there is no need to further expound on it.

34) Redsan
I would call this ragga MC a Kenyan artist, but he’s been an Afropolitan star who’s been performing mainly outside Africa for so long that this would almost be a lie. He is one of the few artists who started at home, acquired international fame and is now signed up with a label in the granddaddy of music, the United States of America. Or maybe it is India? I intuitively suspect that India may have higher annual sales, but do any of you have more accurate inside information?

His most recent videos, of course, reflects his move to a much more “cash fluid” label.

35) The men who serenade their women

Where would we be without classic tracks like Malaika and African Queen? This reminds us, brothaz, that women can be quite silly and drive us nuts but that’s kinda why we like them. And let us never forgedt that we also like them for their physical beauty, their sexiness, their nurturing aptitude, their appreciation for aesthetics, their femininity and so on and on and on.

The song in the track below is sung by Miss Kidjo but it’s actually a Kiswahili song about a man who is singing to the woman he loves.

36) Nonini

Here is one more Kenyan artist who comes from the music powerhouse that is Calif Records. Though all indications seem to point to the fact that he is currently past his peak, he had probably reached the most magnificent heights in African music.

Bursting onto the music scene with “Manzi wa Nairobi,” Nonini and Jua Cali, a fellow Calif mate, are unashamedly crass as they discuss the day to day life of a young man in Nairobi. Thus, the original “bad boy” of Kenyan music with his ridiculous lyrics became an instant East African sex symbol and every parent’s worst nightmare.

We…we….we….we….kamu! Check out the track below and find his Myspace page here.

37) That kid in your school who can really sing
I don’t think any school in Africa missed out on having at least one kid who always spoke in music. These kids either always had a pen and paper ready for writing lyrics, perpetually walked with a certain rhythm in their steps or, best of all, endlessly regaled everyone with ditties or rap songs.

Jose Chameleone started doing exactly that. Below is the kid I went to school with and the one who always had his “rap rhyme” pen and paper handy and never failed to put them to good use.

38) South Africans
The best vocalists of colour come from these two countries
I don’t know if proximity to white people who keep beating you down is a natural performance enhancer, but I do know that  South Africans are the best vocalists and musicians Africa has to offer. The South African contribution to the list before you include Malaika, Fassie, Makeba, Masekela and Chakachaka.

I invite you to witness this phenomenon yourself by listening to some music that was part of the anti-apartheid struggle or just pick up a gospel CD recorded by any South African vocalist.

Although the song below is actually about wanting to do very bad things to someone, it will surely make you want to “jam.”

39) Swahili Nation
These guys had to be included in my list because of the quality of their videos. They formed their band in Kenya and attained tremendous success around the turn of the century with the single “Hakuna Matata.”

They had been unable to replicate this massive success, but, from their very beginnings, they have always produced world-class videos and their talents have always been apparent.



40) The Women of Africa
If you have never heard a group of women sing together then you haven’t lived yet, my friend. The blending of their altos and sopranos into high pitched sounds that are still mellow, is an experience to behold.

The Kenyan national anthem is based on a Pokomo lullaby and most songs in their churches are customized to be delivered by God’s most beautiful creation — woman. In honor of women, I shall post the first image ever on the website dedicated to the Displaced African (tDA).

41) Soulfege

On the 14th and 15th of July 2008, I interviewed a member of these Afropolitan gems, D.N.A. aka Derrick Ashong. Rather than hearing about it from me, I am sure that you would much rather listen to the main man, Derrick, speak for himself.

Join their Facebook group here, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends while you’re there.

42) Lokua Kanza

From Wikipedia: Lokua Kanza (born April 1958) is a singer, songwriter and composer from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is known for his soulful, folksy sound, which is atypical of the dance-floor friendly soukous music that is so common in the Congo.

Check out his official website here.

43) Conscious rappers

Talib KweliThis article could not be complete without talking about socially conscious rappers who have had a huge impact on many African lives, including my own. I am referring to musicians like Tribe Called Quest and Dead Prez who consciously cultivated a relationship with Mother Africa and showed her all the love and respect that she deserves. Being a child of Africa’s soil, I am sending my love right back.

44) Bob Marley
Approach any African and try to convince him or her that Bob isn’t one of us. Come on, I dare you! Bob has always been and will continue to be in the hearts of Africans for a very long time.

I know that absolutely everyone reading this article has sat in a quite room in the company of good friends and sang, “No woman, no cry! I remember when we used to sit in a …”

45) Eric Wainaina
Eric Wainaina has achieved much that sets him apart as a great artist. First of all, he has been a globally revered musician for over a decade. Secondly, he created his own niche and style of music that is now being imitated all over Kenya and he has composed music for stage productions, for musical marathons and for other entertainment events.

He is one of the greats of African soul and jazz with true substance to his lyrics.

For more information visit his home online or just buy his albums on iTunes.

46) Afro-Latinos

Until I came to Australia, I didn’t even know that there are people of African descent living in Central and South America who established a history there. Among many other things, they also created my favorite martial arts in Brazil: Capoeira.

By the way, notice how much the song above sounds like soukkous. Don’t quote me on that, but I seem to vaguely remember reading that the two stem from the same source. Sounds like it might be true, don’t you agree?

47) Makoma

Let’s infuse some gospel into the mix. I first heard this DRC band during the World Cup Games in 2002. All you need to hear is the commanding opening of the track, Butu Na Moyi, to know that you are in for a true listening experience.

Seriously, there must be something in the drinking water south of the equator because this band has some ridiculously well controlled, emotionally fluid, take-you-high vocals.


48) Milele

I recently read an article in the Kenyan Jewels and was reminded that I used to be a fan of this Kenyan Gospel group based in the United States. This set me in a nostalgic mood and I also recalled having been a huge fan of yet another a  capella band many years ago, Five Alive.

This one is for all the guys you ever listened to from your past until today, when Milele are rocking audiences as far away from home as Pasadena, California.

49) You tell me

I reserve this last slot for you. If you were moved in any way by this article, share it with your friends on Facebook and then come back to tell me which musical acts have been the soundtrack of your life. Which artists rocked your world?

40 Comments

  • By anon, February 2, 2009 @ 9:38 am

    i dont know how u came up with this list. its a joke but u are entittled to your taste first off how can u have a list of great african artists without Franco ? and Tabu Ley. what about Salif Keita.

  • By Mwangi, February 2, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    @anon: Lol! I expected this. Now it might shock you to know that I actually don’t know who “Tabu Ley” and “Salif Keita” are. When you refer to Franco, I think I might know who you’re referring to, so if you have any links, feel free to share……..

  • By KenyaLuv, February 2, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

    Also check out Mory Kante and Papa Wemba

  • By Mwangi, February 3, 2009 @ 3:26 am

    @KenyaLuv: Papa is already #19. Mory is another artist I haven’t heard of. Thanks for the addition.

  • By who me, February 8, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

    I absolutely love this post.
    Although it clealry isn’t a ranked list, or is it, which i love dearly for some morbid reason.
    It reminded me of lots of fogotten artists as well as intorducing me to some new ones.
    Some other artists I thought should get a mention are,
    Tiken jah fakoly
    Lagbaja
    Abdullah Ibrahim
    Them Mushrooms

  • By Mwangi, February 8, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

    @whois: Cheers man. I think you have the hippie mentality my friend ( “Ranking is an oppressive system used by the land owners to suppress the proletariat” and all that :P )

    Thanks for adding to the list

  • By Kaasa, February 17, 2009 @ 8:06 am

    Sasa? :-)

    Nice list. Okay now…

    To help you get more traffic (in my swn small way), I’ve added a page on my blog called ‘Please Look Here’. I’ve added your link to it and directed folks to come here.

    About music, also check out

    Bongo Maffin

    Simphiwe Dana

    Camagwini

    Thanks!

  • By Mwangi, February 17, 2009 @ 9:34 am

    @Kaasa: Merci merci merci Ms Kaasa :)

  • By cee, March 18, 2009 @ 1:38 am

    Ok I guess I am one of Kaasa’s many victim, I checked on her Please Look here and here I am..though a link on Dan Ngari’s page lead me here once….
    Anyhu, great list of artist but I would definitely add

    1. Rebecca Malope – SA
    2. L’Or Mbongo – DRC
    3. Yunasi – Kenya
    4. P-Square – Nigerian
    5. Teeyah – (Not sure about the country guess Ivory Coast )
    6. Wahu – Kenya
    7. Julia Kanyomozi – Uganda
    I think that’s enough for now

  • By Mwangi, March 18, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

    @cee: Thanks for your contributions, our Naija brothers P-sqaure truly have truly taken over Kenya haven’t they?

  • By Africa, April 9, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

    Great read. Ofcourse there are sooo many more, but this is a good list!

    Keep up the good work!

  • By Otwoma, November 22, 2009 @ 8:10 am

    I have just bn havin an arguement with a friend of mine about the greatest african musician n in my opinion ths list is nt started leave alone incomplete without franco lwanza lwambo makyad toppin the list,he’z africas musical messiah

  • By admin, December 24, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

    @Otwoma: It should be noted that the list has no hierachy. They are all “equally top” :)

  • By hardcorekancil, December 26, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

    Glad to hear you’re still alive! I am close to being a resident of Kenya. I wish there was a way to tell these people in the orange building to harakisha kidogo…
    I hope you’ll be seen in Nairobi in 2010.

  • By admin, January 5, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    @hardcorekancil: I too hope to touch down in 2010. G luck….um…um….are you applying for Kenyan citizenship or am I misunderstanding?

  • By afropolitaine, April 29, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

    this list could go on and on and on, but i absolutely agree with all those listed :) I do, however, think K’Naan needs to be listed above. I think you mixed up Fela and Femi Kuti – the Bang Bang Bang song was sung by Femi, Fela’s son.

  • By Señor BoNobO, May 28, 2010 @ 5:57 am

    Orchestra Baobab, Hugh Masakela, Bisso Na Bisso, MC Solaar, Zap Mama, Rocky Dawuni, King Sunny Ade, Baaba Maal, Sonny Okosuns, Olantunji, more, and more…

  • By African, June 22, 2010 @ 11:05 am

    Great list and good comments. Just to add … Manu Dibango

  • By Kate Bomz, October 1, 2010 @ 5:52 am

    Ha!
    This list is 80% Kenyan..where is the Manu Dibango, Ali Farka T, Amadou & Mariam, Ethiopian Jazz, Taarab, Baloji, Lady J dee, Mwana Falsafa, The very best….equal presentation please. You should do a top 3 from all 58 nations…if you are really upto it..(yes this includes Cabo Verde too!)there are so many amazing African artists out there that repetition can surely be avoided along with shout outs to African women, South Africans, and the Civil Right movement. Kuwa serious kidogo, though i do applaud you for the effort and time taken to do this.

    Also, big faux pas..mixing up Fela and Femi Kuti? with that…I really can’t be mad at the whole list…..it puts it all into perspective.

  • By admin, October 7, 2010 @ 3:20 am

    @Kate: Clearly I found a connoisseur…..I think if one thing becomes clear after reviewing the list is that in comparison to many African music fans out there, my knowledge in this area is shallow at best so please feel free to educate :)

  • By john muthuri, November 11, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

    A great list in dead but where are the likes of Wahu and wyre???

  • By Mwangi, November 23, 2010 @ 3:44 am

    @john: I think Wahu and Wyre have some miles to go before achieving legend status necessary for the post

  • By Jaffar Mohamed, January 13, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

    This list is a joke, so Redsan is one of Africa’s great musicians, laughable!. Ever heard of the likes of Baaba Maal, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Salif Keita, Manu Dibango, Rukia Traore, K’Naan. Obviously your knowledge of Africa’s music and musician is shallow. Blame it on the FM radio stations.

  • By Mwangi, February 4, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

    @Jaffar: You just might be right on that one.

  • By Chris, May 6, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    Wait. Ali Farka Toure not yet mentioned? What’s wrong with you people?

  • By Guillaume, May 11, 2011 @ 6:33 am

    i agree with this list 85 percent cause my favorite ones are there: angelique kidjo, youssu nd’our…. but what about chicco (south africa, professor jay, tanzania,…?))

  • By 100% African, August 3, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    Hi there… You have Femi Kuti’s picture up there @ No 4 instead of Fela Kuti as it says. Femi, a respected afrobeat musician in his own right is the son of afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

  • By African Sky Blue, August 4, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    Great list! I want to add Johnny Clegg to it- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Clegg – he and Sipho Mchunu battled Apartheid in South Africa with their band Juluka, and later with the band Savuka. Also, a more recent artist to add to the list would be Habib Koité from Mali http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habib_Koite . And let’s not forget Lebo M, most famous for bringing the music of The Lion King to life http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebo_M . More links: http://youtu.be/GTE04OAi_tg ; http://youtu.be/wer1Zj8j5Qw ; http://youtu.be/qQ43JGm48Lg ; http://youtu.be/tRfV3JYwQrY

  • By Mwangi, August 8, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    @100% African: Thanks for that. And the d’oh moments from this post keep on piling :P

  • By kabsahi, October 30, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    where is mohammed wardi????

  • By mbebwe, November 2, 2011 @ 9:16 am

    Cheikh Lô……..mmmmmmmmm
    Check him out, you won’t regret it.

  • By Gambian Man, December 6, 2011 @ 2:27 am

    Where is Alfa Blonde????

  • By Samaza, January 18, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

    GEOFFREY ORYEMA!!!

  • By Samuel, September 14, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

    How can the legendary FRANCO and TPOK Jazz miss here???? As far as am concerned he was and still is the best musician Africa has ever produced.

  • By By C'zar, November 23, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

    thanx guz, but i am worried how about Navio, Keko, Prezzo….

  • By Josh, November 29, 2012 @ 3:31 am

    This list is junk…..better look for something else to do…some of the names can pass kenya Uganda boarder..hahaha this is Kenyan list…well as a matter of fact Kenyans are the worst singers in east Africa. And cant be in the list among the best in Africa

  • By Joe from WI, December 31, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    Check out Tinariwen, the nomadic Toureg band; the “Led Zeppelin of the Sahara”.

  • By Kris, January 7, 2013 @ 9:19 am

    This list is full of a lot” SHOULD NOT BE”, Yes you will be unforgivable not to list the greats” FRANCO, TABU LAY ROCHERAUX” I believe that you was not neutral while selecting and your own origin corrupted your choice… In South Africa: Miriam Makeba, Yvone Chakachaka are the two who deserve to be listed. In the Congo:Franco(LUambo Makiadi come first, Tabu ley, Papa Wemba, Lokua Kanza, Koffi olomide, Awilo, Kanda Bongo, Werrason, Fally Ipupa…I agree with the Makoma amd currently MOHOMBI…SEnegal Yes Akon, Youssou ndur…Naija: P square only…Hard to say but your list is full of junk YES

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