Forgotten musicians of Africa’s past
Some say that good music will always be hidden or underrated. Thanks to the internet, we are seeing the results of interest in African music from the past couple of decades that have more or less been forgotten. While some pioneering names, such as Fela Anikulapo Kuti, will always be remembered, others will not garner as much fame.
We’ve decided to give a nod to old school musicians that are not as popular as they deserve to be.
Super Mama Djombo is a band from Guinea Bissau formed in the 1960s. Their name Mama Djombo pays homage to a female deity. You may have come across them if you are really into African classics. “Dissan Na M’bera” is one of our favourites from the group.
If you are a fan of Nigerian fuji music, you are likely aware that it is an offshoot of waka music, which is traditional Yoruba music influenced by Muslim traditions. One of the most talented waka musicians is Alhaja Queen Salawa Abeni. She said to have been the first woman to sell over a million copies of her record in Nigeria. Have a taste of waka music with “Boluwatife.”
Gnonnas Pedro was an early member of Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou, the versatile Beninese band. Pedro may not be as a famous as the Orchestre, but his solo tunes are guaranteed to have you moving — especially “Yiri Yiri Boum,” which was sung in Spanish.
Hasna El Bacharia is an Algerian musician known to be the only woman in the Maghreb region that plays the gumbri. The gumbri is a stringed musical instrument of the Gnawa people, derived from the Malian n’goni. “Hakmet Lakdar” is a song about destiny.
Zamrock, that is Zambian rock, is a combination of psychedelic rock and funk that grew in the 1970s. It was unknown outside Zambia until a couple of years ago when interest in the genre resurfaced among fans of African rock music. One of the most notable zamrock groups was Amanaz formed in 1973. “History of Man” is a fun introduction to the genre.
Which musician from the days past do you feel deserves more recognition? Leave a comment below or let me known on Twitter @rafeeeeta