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Five must have African albums
Africa is home to some incredible musical talent; from the Grammy-award winning legends, to the up-and-coming stars of the Afrobeats scene. It’s a tough search for the very best, so we’ve conveniently put our five ‘must have’ African albums into a list for you.
No need to thank us! We’d love to know if you have any more suggestions, tweet us or comment below!
Fela Kuti – Zombie
Every album collection needs Fela Kuti’s ‘Zombie’. Disagree? Well maybe Kuti’s fractured skull, broken arm and shattered leg inflicted by the 70s Nigerian government after the albums huge success will assure you that it’s one of the most revolutionary and controversial albums of all times. With just four tracks, each roughly 13 minutes long, Kuti’s explosion of trumpets in the title track ‘Zombie’, hypnotic saxophone harmony in ‘Mr. Follow Follow’, on top of the simply addictive compositions of ‘Observation No Crime’ and ‘Mistake’, make it a true African masterpiece.
Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
Michael Kiwanuka may have topped the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll, but you could mistake the British/Ugandan singer-songwriter’s music as the sound of 1965, with the soothed sounds and warm vocals to rival Otis Redding or Bill Withers. Listening to the bluesy heartfelt lyrics of “Bones”, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were walking down a street in Jackson, Mississippi. Or, lazing in the British sunshine, for the folk hit “Home Again.” Michael’s music inspires nostalgia, with his unique blend of acoustic and soul, it’s no wonder he’s been hyped by Adele, Emeli Sande, and Maverick Sabre.
Nneka – To and Fro
It’s not often that a singer with both Nigerian, and German, descent comes onto the music scene, but Nneka is exactly that. With the success of her song “Heartbeat” being sampled by both British DJ’s Chase and Status, and rising pop queen Rita Ora, you might assume that Nneka was a one trick pony. You’d be wrong. Inspired by Africa, Nneka’s debut album, ‘To and Fro’, is a mishmash of reggae, soul, dance and anthemic pop. The shift from the politically-charged sound of “Africans”, guitar in hand, to the empowering hip-hop beats of “In Charge”, certifies Nneka as a pioneering artist.
Miriam Makeba - Pata Pata
Miriam Makeba is an undeniable African legend. As the first artist from Africa, South Africa specifically, to popularise African music in the U.S. and around the world, her Grammy-award winning voice has inspired generations of artists across the World. Mama Africa, as she is affectionately known, shows her colours in the title track ‘Pata Pata’, recorded in 1956 it’s a hip-shaking burst of the classic African sound. “Click Song Number 1” storms guitars, “Ha Po Zamani” witnesses beating-drums, and “What Is Love” showcases incredible harmonies. The one thing that these songs have in common, is simply the passionate lyrics and overwhelming voice of a legend.
P Square – The Invasion
Afrobeats is an ever-increasingly popular genre of music, and P-Square fit perfectly in this mix of infectious African music. As a Nigerian R&B duo composed of identical twin brothers Peter and Paul Okoye, the duo have over 32 million hits on Youtube. Their fifth studio album demonstrates the innovative sound, “Chop My Money”, is an infectious dance anthem with electronic vocals and foot-stomping drums. “Jeje’s” unforgettable chorus sets pulses racing, whilst love-letter “Beautiful Onyinye” will melt hearts. With support from Akon and Sean Paul, the Nigerian duo have their eyes set on international fame.
The stereotype of Africa is not its reality. It’s a growing continent and I’ll be writing about the exciting changes that are happening everyday.
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