Africa is a continent blessed with diverse culture and landmass. Aside from boasting of a strong cultural variety unlike any other, Africa is home to many local and internationally distinguished musical legends, a great number of them are colonists of different African music genres that have become part of the unique African sound.
Without further ado, here’s a compilation in no particular order of 6 of the greatest African music legend that history pay respect and recognition to.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), was known worldwide as Fela Kuti, or Fela, he was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, founder of the Afrobeat music genre and known human rights activist. At the peak of his career and popularity, he was referred to by many as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers.” He was widely appraised as the greatest African artist to have lived, he rose to fame in the 70s with his band ‘The Afrika’70’.
He was also a passionate political activist and is considered the pioneer of the music genre known as Afrobeat. He was popular for singing in Yoruba his native tongue and pidgin English.
Malian afro-pop singer-songwriter Salif Keïta was born on the 25th of August 25, 1949.
He is notable not only for his reputation as the “Golden Voice of Africa” but also because he has albinism. He is a member of the Keita royal family of Mali and he is known to have received numerous awards and accolades all over the continent and the world as a whole.
Zenzile Miriam Makeba, known as Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil-rights activist. Miriam Makeba passed away on the 8th of November 2008 in Italy. Before her death, she was recognised by the world as the most popular female artist to come out of Africa. The legendary Grammy award winner’s music was associated with the jazz, Afropop and world music genres. During her lifetime she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa.
Her music dealt with the socio-political plight of South Africans under Apartheid and she is considered to have pioneered the very sound of South African music.
Ali Farka Toure
Ali Ibrahim “Ali Farka” Touré was a Malian singer and multi-instrumentalist, and notably one of Africa’s most internationally renowned and recognized musicians. His music is widely regarded as representing traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues. Before his death, he was considered to be one of the finest musicians to come out of Mali and is known to perform songs in 10 languages from Mali which is considered an impressive feat indeed.
King Sunny Ade
King Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye MFR, known professionally by all as King Sunny Adé. Nigerian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is a specialist in the West African musical style jùju and is one of the first African pop musicians to gain international success, and he has been called one of the most influential musicians of all time.
Brenda Fassie was a highly viewed South African pop singer popularly referred to as the Queen of African Pop.
Her songs were known to apex the charts and each of her albums became multi-platinum sellers in South Africa.
Even in her death, she continues to inspire many, particularly a whole new generation of rising artists.