Love the Christmas season! Here are some tunes from African artists that’ll be on my cocktail party playlists next week. I was introduced to some of these genres by Nirmal, who has the best music selection, sound system and pad in all Asia (which don’t get him brownie points from the neighbors)! Think layered carpets, a soft glow from lamps draped in silk scarves, candlelight dancing behind the apsara figurines and artwork glaring through the wisps of incense smoke. Sigh, when’s the next long weekend??
Ismaël Lô Wassaliane
Senegalese singer, guitarist and harmonica player. Very folky peaceful music, and rich textured voice.
Juliana Kanyomozi Kanyimbe
Love her voice! The music is heavily influenced by pop and R&B, and this one is gospel..(?), which sends me wondering what gospel music is. Is it the content or structure..?
Khadja Nin Sambolera
Another incredible vocalist. Born in Burundi but her music career took off in Belgium. Her songs are statements on humanitarian topics and the struggle against inequality of all kinds. She also has particular affinity for environmental issues. This song (in Swahili) was a phenomenal success that put her on the map, a mix of traditional African and Afro-Cuban rhythms with modern pop.
Amadou & Mariam Senegal Fast Food
Guitarist Amadou Bagayoko and singer Mariam Doumbia met at a school for the blind in Mali as teens, where they formed a musical duo. They’ve been together ever since. This whole album’s pretty fun to listen to.
Lura Nha Vida (“My life”)
Born in Portugal to parents who’d emigrated from Cape Verde, Lura was a stage dancer when African star Juka asked her to sing backup on his upcoming album. This song propelled her to popularity beyond her country.
Henri Dikonguè Ndol’Asu
This singer and guitarist from Cameroon mixes different elements of makossa, bikutsi, rumba and reggae into this fun number.
And this one from Daara J is just wild. He’s got dancehall reggae, hip hop, and tongue twisters all rolled into his rap.