Sound of Africa

14 088 Afro songs with 390 109 monthly listeners

Sounds of Africa Origin
Many things define the continent, but nothing comes close to the prestige that comes with the Sounds of Africa. Music is more than a way of life for the people – it is a platform for educating, informing and inspiring generations to come. A century later, the continent has made tremendous steps in the music industry, even producing musical stars of international repute.
Take Burna Boy, for instance. He won Nigeria a Grammy Award in 2020. He followed closely in the steps of the legendary Fela Kuti, who bagged a similar award in 2012 and 2014. Beninese artist Angelique Kidjo took the coveted award home in 2022, bringing her total Grammy Awards to four. This is just a teaser of how powerful the sounds of Africa have become. But it is all thanks to the last century’s genres that act as a bond celebrating people and their different cultures.
A debate about the sounds of Africa is never complete without mentioning Amapiano. It is a mainstay in South Africa and so good is this genre that it’s spreading fast to other Southern African countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. It traces its origin to Johannesburg, South Africa’s capital around 2014. Mzansi the Zulu culture is highly valued, and the Zulu people's tunes influenced various musical styles, including gqom, which Amapiano has eclipsed.
Deep house beats, Kwaito, and jazz can all be heard in the synths, airy pads, and expansive bass lines that characterize songs in this genre. It took years of relentlessness by a few artists to get songs in this style out there. MFR Soul, a Mzansi musical duo who started singing in 2012 named this genre. Due to the heavy piano sounds in these songs, the ‘piano’ inclusion after the Zulu-inspired prefix ‘Ama’ became a formula to name this genre.
But it took years of trial and error to push this music. Kabz De Small, renowned producer DJ Maphorisa and DJ Stokie played a crucial role in popularizing this genre. DJ Stokie dedicated one hour during his days at YFM to playing ‘Yano’ songs. But the Kabz and Maphorisa duo are widely regarded as the godfathers of Amapiano. They fiercely played in their club gigs as much as they played it in house parties. By 2019, Amapiano was the new kid on the block making headlines all over.
Then there is Kwaito which nearly takes away all the glory of the sounds of Africa. If you want to learn more about life in South African townships, Kwaito music is what you should listen to. This type of popular music emerged in Soweto in the early 1990s and has since become a worldwide phenomenon. Electronic dance music and hip-hop are just two of the many influences on the genre. As with hip-hop, it utilizes a blend of regional dialects and pop culture lingo to speak directly to the realities of Black people in cities like Johannesburg and townships like Soweto.
Initially, early Kwaito songs referred to the reality surrounding its musicians, including the highs and lows of township life, the dreams of its citizens, and the pride they felt in their efforts to better their lives. It would then evolve into a form of party music in the 2000s, frequently containing explicit lyrics that celebrate a variety of sensual pleasures. But it still highlights social and administrative shortcomings in South Africa among other societal issues. It all depends on what subject you would like to listen to and pick your favourite artist for it.
While still on sounds of Africa, zouk brings an interesting perspective. The French-speaking Caribbean islands starting in Guadeloupe birthed the genre in the 1970s. However, its cultural diversity from back in time serves lessons of loyalty. Besides, the linkage of African musicians and styles has remained a valuable resource for music enthusiasts. It passes a cosmopolitan music genre and it is one of the exported talents just like Ohangla that’s popular in Kenya’s Luo land.
Who Are the Favourite Sounds of Africa Artists?
· Arthur Mafokate
· Prince Indah
· Woud Fibi
· Musa Jakadalla
· Tony Nyandundo
· DJ Maphorisa
· Kabz De Small
· Focalistic
· Cassper Nyovest
· Mr JazziQ
· MFR Souls
· Sha Sha
· Kamo Mphela
· Young Stunna
· Sir Trill
· Busta 929
· Killer Kau
· Mapara A Jazz
· Abidoza
· Lady Du
· Musakeys
· TKZee
· Unathi
· Zola
· Mandoza
· Chipa
· Brown Dash
· Mahoota
· Msawawa
· Kwesta
· Mafikizolo
Why Should You Listen to Sounds of Africa?
The takeaway in Sounds of Africa is the harmony and inclusivity of both artists and cross-cutting beats production. African artists come together and create magical songs from their respective genres into pretty new fields. A case in point is South African piano star Focalistic who teamed up with Nigeria’s afrobeat king Davido and released a sizzling track Amapiano tune.