MUSICAL heavyweights gathered in Dakar, Senegal for the eighth All-Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) that aim to celebrate and promote the continent’s best veteran and cutting-edge musicians.
Globally recognised stars including Senegalese maestro Youssou Ndour, and Nigerian artists P-Square and Tiwa Savage are among those set to perform during the main awards ceremony at the 15,000-seat Dakar stadium.
Gabonese singer and AFRIMA nominee Espoir La Tigresse was among the extravagantly dressed guests posing on the red carpet before the ceremony.
“I’m wearing a head mask from my tribe in Gabon representing a traditional dance from my village to show that I’m proud of my culture and wanted to share it with the people here today,” she told Reuters, wearing a black gown and a headpiece decorated with long straw-like fronds that hid most of her face.
The mass appeal of contemporary genres such as Afrobeats, where artists sing and rap over electronic backing tracks, has translated into record sales and sold-out concerts for some African artists across the continent and also in the United States and parts of Europe in recent years.
“This is such an exciting moment in African music, and we are proud of the way these artists have been able to cross over to several markets both on the home front and even globally,” said AFRIMA President Mike Dada ahead of the ceremony.
Companies are cashing in on rising global interest in African music. Last June, Universal Music Group launched a label for independent African labels and artists, while music streaming platforms, including Spotify, have sought to expand their offerings by African artists.