Africa has produced many immensely talented musicians; some have made wise use of their talent and have become wealthy and well recognized in Africa and other parts of the world.
I’m sharing my top ten legendary musicians in Africa; they are the rich, successful and internationally known musicians. They have also, one way or the other imparted and mentored many young lives in Africa positively.
The top ten musicians under listed below are gathered as a result of fact findings and multiple sources as regards their personal lives, societal impact, popularity, high level of music distribution and world recognition.
At number 10, I have Oumou Sangare of Mali who happens to be one of Mali’s most adored and respected musical stars. The 46 year old Award winning Malian made the ‘Wassoulou’ a prominent traditional music famous. Her music centers on feminism and the right of women. As a United Nations Goodwill ambassador, Sangare has been outspoken in advocating against polygamy. She is a successful entrepreneur who in 2006, partnered with a Chinese automobile firm to make a car that has been named after her – Oum Sang.
Hugh Masekela of South Africa sits at number nine on my list. The 75 year-old Jazz maestro and internationally renowned Trumpeter has made consistent progress in his career. He started playing the trumpet at the age of 14 and has used his music to combat slavery, apartheid, as well as socio-economic exploitation. He was notable for performing in the 1959 musical “King Kong”, written by Todd Matshikiza. This famous musician published his autobiography in 2004 titled – “Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela”. His career has spanned 5 decades, with over 40 albums to his credit.
Congo born master’s degree holder in Mathematics from the University of Paris, Koffi Olomide is 8th on my list. Many people will be surprised that a Master’s degree holder in Mathematics can record success in music. Sources say that a major part of Koffi’s success and fortune has stemmed from singing. He is famously recognized as a performer of a very famous and specific type ofAfrican music known as Soukous. During the height of his career, he has released over 30 albums which have sold millions worldwide.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka
Yvonne Chaka Chaka
The South Africa born female musician, Yvonne Chaka Chaka is one of Africa’s most acclaimed musicians. She made her debut appearance on stage at the age of 18 and was catapulted to fame in the height of Apartheid in South Africa. Her contagious pop melodies, girlish attractions and angelic voice could not go unnoticed. Popularly known for her songs such as “Umquombothi”, “I Cry for freedom” and “I’m in love with a DJ” this prominent musician and United Nations Goodwill ambassador and UN envoy to Africa now dedicates her time to philanthropy.
The first born child of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Femi Kuti appears at number six on my list. This 52 year old musician just like his father, uses his music to fight against societal vices such as, poverty, corruption and other socio-economic matters that are prevailing in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. His album ‘Fight To Win’ housed collaborations with American artists like Mos Def, Common and Jaguar. Femi’s music is largely viewed as the most prominent Neo-Afro Beat of the 21st century.
Fifth on my list is Khaled Hadj, famously known as Khaled. This 54 year-old Algerian musician is a songwriter and most popular ‘Rai’ singer worldwide. Rai, which is a type of folk, merges French, Arabic, Spanish and African musical influences in Khaled’s style of music. His major success is in France, with his songs “Didi” and “Aicha” topping major charts. Reported to have sold over 20 million album copies, Khaled remains one of Africa’s bestselling musicians of all time.
Quidah, Benin born Grammy Award winning Beninese, Angelique Kidjo remains one of Africa’s most influential singers and influencers till date. This UNICEF Goodwill ambassador is also the pioneer of Washington based charity known as the ‘Batonga Foundation’. The organization fosters and funds education of Africans girls. Angelique is a very zealous advocate for the rights of African women.
Known as the founding father of the Mali Empire, Salif Keita of comes third on my list. The 65 year old Malian is one of the founders of Afro-pop in Africa. Keita was widely criticized when he decided to become a musician as it was regarded an occupation not befitting for someone from a royal Malian family. Exiled from his village at the age of 18, due to the superstitious belief that albinos were symbolic of misfortune, this talented musician went on to play for a Malian musical group known as “Les Ambassadeurs” prior to going solo. Since then, his music career was a mind blowing success.
80 year old Cameroon musician, Manu Dibango is second on my list. An excellent saxophonist, this Cameroonian musician is indeed multi-talented, because of his tremendous contribution in the African music industry. He was popularly known for his 1972 single “Soul Makossa”, but he has played various genre such as Reggae, soul, blues, disco, inspirational and electro.
55 year Senegalese, Youssou N’dour, comes first on my list. N’dour is argued to be the most thrilling and fascinating African musician. His contribution in making the Mbalax popular cannot be undermined. The UNICEF ambassador has been outspoken in his campaign to put an end in the humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa. No wonder, the musician is once a Grammy Award winner who is intelligent, successful business owner of a world class night club, television station as well as a record label.
Note: Articles are totally writers’ opinion. Your views are also accepted