The list below was published in January , since when this page has had over half a million hits. In the introduction below I explained what I was trying to achieve, while also admitting to the limitations of my own knowledge. Despite a few flaws, the list remains a decent introduction to African music, so please enjoy! On my new website you can listen to over songs from each and every African country. African music is an incredibly rich and fertile ground. But also within any one country there are usually several different musical traditions, often reflecting the varied tribal origins of the inhabitants. This is not a definitive list. It reflects not just my own ignorance and prejudices, but also the fact that no videos have yet been created for many classic African recordings. I have tended to select tracks which are at least partly grounded in African musical traditions, because I like them, but also because I want to highlight what is unique and valuable in African music.
African Drum Music - Slow Agbekor by Kongo Zabana In African drum ensembles, a musician establishes a time line which establishes the points of entry for the different instruments. So the player must know the role of the particular instrument in the totality, and also the rhythm or rhythms assigned to it and precisely where they fit into the music. Opportunities to learn and appreciate drumming is limited in contemporary contexts, and it is against this background that the International Centre for African Music and Dance at the University of Ghana has embarked on this project aimed at making African drum music accessible to a wider public in the form of musical scores, audio and video recordings.
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As this rich and ever-developing culture embraces all races found in South Africa, you get a beautiful mix of different sounds and rhythms. Fact: Since , Masekela played music that protested apartheid, slavery, government and spoke of the hardships that many faced. Listen here. Fact: He is a modern day one-man folk band. He mixes guitar, ukulele, harmonica and beatbox skills, along with echos and distortion units, that leave you literally awe-struck. Fact: Before hitting the music scene, he received an honors degree in Computer Engineering and tried his hand in Geology. Fact: He was a symbol of the new South Africa and was gunned down in , in a senseless carjacking. Rest in peace Lucky Dube! Fact: Hands down one of my all time favorite bands!
In Africa it is unrealistic to separate music from dance or from bodily movement. This is one reason African music is less amenable to notation than Western music; for analytical purposes, sound filming rather than just sound recording is essential. In Africa music making is very often collective , involving organized collaboration in which performers contribute not identical, but complementary, constituents. The Ghanaian musicologist J. In a great many African music and dance cultures , movement organization rigidly follows certain principles of timing that cannot be equated with Western metrical systems. African systems of timing are generally based on at least four fundamental concepts:. Interlocking techniques are a prominent feature of many instrumental styles in East and southeastern Africa. The drumming in the ngwayi dance of northeastern Zambia , the timbrh lamellaphone music of the Vute people of central Cameroon, and many other traditions also use interlocking techniques. A basic characteristic of interlocking is the absence of a common guide pulse to be taken as a reference point by all players.