The 5 cities that influence modern African music
What do Lagos, Accra, Nairobi, Luanda, and Tshwane have in common? According to Rab Bakari, CEO of Mixerpot, these five cities are the top shapers of modern African music as we know it. Whether it is Afrobeat from Lagos or Afro house from Tshwane, music coming out of these metropolitan areas influence sounds not only on the continent but throughout the Diaspora.
What separates these cities as the top five African cities that are renowned for their musical genius is the use of social media. Cities such as Bamako, Mali; Dar es Salam, Tanzania; and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo are known for the kora, bongo flava, and soukous, respectively. However, it will be hard for most Africans to list five relevant musicians or DJs from those cities. On the other hand, singers, personalities, and DJs from the top five have a heavy presence on social media. Despite the often mentioned challenges in using data on the continent, a number of tools are popular.
Twitter is one tool employed by African musicians from Lagos, Accra, Nairobi, Luanda, and Tshwane to announce album releases and collaborations. Most of them, excluding those from Luanda, are tweeting in English and so reaching wider audiences in North America and Europe. A lot of artists from Lagos, Accra, and Tshwane in particular, engage in conversation with their fans on Twitter to create a bond with their supporters. DJs and personalities have also employed Twitter to maintain their popularity.
Instagram is another big tool especially with those who do not like Twitter and prefer to tell stories through images and videos. YouTube, its partner Vevo, as well as Snapchat, Facebook, and Soundcloud are significant for African musicians from the five listed cities. It has become easier than ever to discover music from other African cities too using their social media tools. By typing, for example “Luanda music” on YouTube, one can discover music from the city even without speaking any Portuguese.
Modern African music is played in clubs across Africa and increasingly in European and North American cities. Still, there remains room for more connection and musical exchange between African cities.
How do you discover music from other African countries? Who are your favorite African artistes and personalities on social media? Leave a comment below or reach me on Twitter @rafeeeeta