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Afrobeat and a growing sense of unity

SETH ONYANGO, BIRD NEWSROOM

WITH the rise of Afrobeat and Amapiano, African pop stars are penetrating the global music scene and changing how the continent’s music is perceived and consumed. Significantly, they are also bringing a sense of unity to the continent.

Africa’s rich terrain of musical styles is laden with fascinating genres such as Taarab, Genge, Ndombolo, Rhumba, Bongo, Benga, Kwaito, Amapiano, and Afrobeat.

Over the past decade or so, the continent’s music landscape has changed dramatically, with new fusions blended into existing genres to create a magical and unique cocktail.

As the music changes so do dance routines, be that Kupe dance, Ena dance, Shaku Shaku, Shoo, Soapy, or Azonto dance.

Musically, local stars such as Burna Boy, Fally Ipupa, DJ Maphorisa, Sarkodie, Davido, and Wizkid have become well established around the globe.

They have also become some of Africa’s most-cherished brand ambassadors and with more African musicians collaborating on songs across the continent, music is becoming something bigger than just entertainment.

According to United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), music is fostering what politics in Africa has struggled to achieve – unity.

African music is increasingly seen in totality, rather than in terms of isolated artists or styles. Billboard, a US publication that monitors reviews, events, and styles related to the music industry acknowledges that African music can no longer be ignored.

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“Over the past couple of years, Africa has exploded as a major player on the global music scene. From U.S. labels scooping up breakout African artists such as Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and Davido to the ascendancy of African streaming platform Boomplay and the inroads of majors Universal, Sony, and Warner Bros. on the continent, the stage is set for a lucrative new future for African music,” reads its latest review of Africa’s music scene.

As the continent’s music explodes, African musicians are not only grossing millions from world charts but also securing major deals with international recording labels.

At the heart of this movement are big royalties from various entertainment mediums like Skiza, YouTube, Boomplay, and Spotify amongst others.

Artists are now more aware of the gaps in the industry and the needs of their fans, with coveted honors like the All Africa Music Awards, BET, and Grammys putting the African artists in the spotlight.

Legendary musical names are also not fading; Salif Keita, Yousour N’dor, Fatoumata Diawara and Anjelique Kidjo are still drawing large numbers, in part due to the exposure but also due to the timelessness of their music. Even “fallen” maestros like Manu Dibango, Lucky Dube, Franco Rocherau, and Kanda Bongo Man are also still very much in the groove, posthumously.

The African music industry is estimated to value in the region of billions of dollars and growing, as investment into the industry continues to pour in.

By The African Mirror

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