Afrobeats: Origins, Backstory, And Famous Musicians 

Originating in Nigeria and Ghana in the 20th century, afrobeat is certainly one of the most authentic genres of African music, however, its sound is a combination of different music styles.

Today Afrobeat became internationally popular. In this article, we will look at the backstory and origins of this music style and also list the most famous Afrobeat musicians.

But what are the most characteristic features of Afrobeat? Afrobeat has been influenced by many styles– traditional Yoruba vocal traditions, West African music of highlife, fuji, and jùjú, and American jazz and funk. One of the styles of African music that has most influenced the Afrobeat, was the Highlife. It was a blend of Ghanaian traditional music with foreign influences like the foxtrot.

The artist who defined and created Afrobeat in the late 1960s  was the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, and human rights activist Fela Kuti (1938-1997). He didn’t just create a new music genre that became popular inside and outside Africa, but also invested his music with great political significance and took social justice very seriously.

Fela Kuti was born in Lagos, In the late 1950s he went to London to study medicine. His parents wanted Fela to become a doctor, however, he was much more interested in music and studied music at the London School of Music. In London, Fela became the leader of the band Koola Lobitos. Perhaps this explains much of the uniqueness of his music: on the one hand, he grew up in Lagos and absorbed the rich African musical traditions, on the other hand, he was a man of the world and received a Western European musical education, familiarizing himself with Western music.

Fela advocated Africa’s political independence from the Western world and the preservation of African traditions. In this way, he had a unique personality, and so unique was the musical genre of Afrobeat, which is similar to many genres and at the same time, unlike any other genre.

In 1969 and early 1970, Fela Kuti met Sandra Smith while touring America, and Martin Luther King Jr. Acquaintances with these people influenced his music in many ways, and it was the time his music was influenced by funk and soul. In Nigeria, Fela even founded his state, the independent republic of Kalakuta for all opponents of military dictatorship.

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Fela favored the idea of a united democratic Africa and was imprisoned several times. The life, musical achievements, and human rights activism of Fela Kuti was so great, that in 2009 there was even the Broadway musical “Fela!”

Created as the African music genre, Afrobeat has experienced a surge in popularity on the international stage. Internationally famous modern Afrobeat artists are Burna Boy, Master KG, and Wizkid. Even those who don’t have hip-hop and pop at the top of their playlist know the song Jerusalem by South African musician Master KG, perhaps the most prominent example of Afrobeats in Germany, as well as the collaborations of internationally famous Western pop artists like Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, Drake, and Kelly Rowland with the Afrobeat artists. Ayra Starr made a song with Kelly Rowland “Bloody Samaritan” (2021) and Rema made a song “Calm Down” (2022) with Selena Gomez. Social media and digital platforms have played a major role in the spread of Afrobeat.

One proof of the popularity of Afrobeat is the fact that many modern Afrobeat songs. were nominated for many international prizes including Grammy Awards. In 2005 “African Queen” single by Nigerian Afrobeat artist 2Baba won the MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act award.

In 2020 “Twice as Tall” (2020) by Burna Boy was named Best Global Music Album, and in 2022 “Made in Lagos” (2021) by Wizkid also became nominated for Best Global Music Album. One of the artists who made Afrobeat a worldwide household name was Wizkid who collaborated with Drake in 2016 “One Dance”. “One Dance” peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

As before, the most prominent representatives of the genre are musicians from Nigeria: Burna Boy, Ayra Starr, Tems, Omah Lay, and Rema. The breakout of Burna Boy was in 2012 due to the success of his single hit “Like to Party” from his debut studio album L.I.F.E. Ayra Starr is a Nigerian singer who released her debut studio album, 19 & Dangerous in 2021.

Tems gained recognition after his collaboration with Wizkid in 2020 which resulted in creating the hit “Essence”.  Omah Lay, a Nigerian singer-slash-songwriter, had his breakout with his single “Holiday”. Other popular newer Afrobeat artists are CKay and Fireboy DML.

Afrobeat had a big impact on the African local culture and global music scene. In many ways, it is Kuti who has succeeded in bringing Africa to the world’s attention. This musical genre embodies the uniqueness and empowerment of African traditions and plays a great role in the world’s perception of African culture and style.

  1. First, you should never confuse Afrobeat and Afrobeats! These are two quite distinct music genres. Afrobeats is a music style that originated i21ste 21st century.
  2. To enjoy Afrobeat music you can stream songs of renowned Afrobeat artists in various digital platforms and follow them on social media platforms. Listen to Afrobeat majestic rhythms while gambling at casino online Kenya or focus on listening to the music. To start with the musical journey of Eurobeat, you can first take a look at the modern Afrobeat songs of Wizkid, Master KG, Burna Boy, Eddy Taylor & the Heartphones and Ojibo Afrobeat.
  3. And how about knowing more about the roots of Afrobeat? Then visit the Kalakuta Museum in Lagos and the Afrobeat Festival in Buenos Aires.By the way, this year there will also be the Afrobeat music festival in Berlin.

#Afrobeats #Origins #Backstory #Famous #Musicians

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