End of the year joy: 2021 has once again been a year of records and good news for African musicians. Suffice as an example the leap of many artists to the world charts, the numerous downloads of their compositions on digital platforms, that never before have so many songs by singers from Africa been nominated for the Grammy Awards or that, finally, Congolese rumba has been recognized by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
There are many good compositions that have surprised us over the last twelve months. But since a selection is imposed that serves as a summary, we have opted for something totally subjective without any complexes. Topics that we liked. The arrangement in which they appear below is absolutely random, it does not obey any graduation, rather the order in which they have been remembered.
Angélique Kido wanted to pay tribute to Mother Earth in his latest album, for this he has surrounded himself with a constellation of young collaborators, especially stars of the afrobeat: Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great. In this work the Beninese artist talks about climate change or political unrest, among many other things. From her we have selected Dignity who plays with the Nigerian Yemi Alade.
The South African duo Scorpion Kings has called the Congolese songwriter and singer, who lives in South Africa, Treasure for your new job: Subsconsciously. An album with 12 songs in which music is mixed house slowed down in order to adapt it to current fashions. We listened to one of the first singles from this album back in January, Funu.
Magazine African Muzik Magazine has chosen as the best song of 2021 the remix of Ke Star. It is a title of the South African songwriter and singer Focalistic in which he takes hold of the Nigerian David and his producer and compatriot, who was already collaborating on the first version of the song, Vigro Deep.
Calema, Soraia Ramos, Pérola and Manecas Costa
The panlusophone theme It’s gone They have also been one of the greats of the year that is about to end. The brothers António and Fabrique Mendes Ferreira who form the duo Calema they join the Cape Verdean Soraia Ramos, the Angolan Pearl already Costa sleeves from Guinea-Bissau to say that in humanity’s difficult times, people come together to overcome common challenges together. The single is an invitation to celebrate our small victories. It also conveys the conviction that the best days are already underway and that we can make them arrive faster. You have to be patient with the futuristic start of the video (one minute), but it’s worth waiting for the song to start.
The Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar He also released a new album this year: Africa Victim, in which he has his usual band. The artist says that it is a fusion between rock and poetic meditations. The themes that she reels in this new work have to do with love, the emancipation of women, injustices, religion and the continuous colonial exploitation of West Africa. It is a work full of righteous anger, as the theme that gives this album its name shows well. In it the blue of the desert with afrobeat to talk about the colonial plunder of Niger’s resources.
Eddy Kenzo he is very irregular in his work. After his initial successes, he went through a period where his creativity suffered. This year he has returned with strength and new energy. Although their 21-track album is a bit long, it is noteworthy. Made in Africa It is a compilation of very careful and mixed regional sounds. In this work, the Ugandan has asked for help from some friends such as the Congolese Kanda Bongo Man or the Malian Monique Seka. It serves as a sample Weekend.
Nigeria continues to lead the way that others follow. There are many artists from this country who have triumphed in 2021. We have selected three of them so as not to tire. The first is the greatest of all, for the moment, because it is already known that fame is like a roller coaster. For now, and for a few years, Burna Boy it cannot be absent in this type of selections. Infinity of nominations and awards ask for it. As the third in a row to a Grammy, he has just received for his collaboration with Angélique Kidio in Do yourself. But the one we select is the one he plays with his countryman, producer Don Jazzy: Question.
Too Wizkid has been nominated for a Grammy after a year of great successes. Magazine Rolling Stone has considered your Essence as the best song of 2021. So by all rights it appears here.
Femi and Made
The culmination of the Nigerian section is given by the Fela Kuti family. Femi Y Made, son and grandson of the legend, have also been nominated for a Grammy this year. On his new album, Legacy +, highlights the topic Fri Fri Fri, from father, Femi.
In Senegal, rap is experiencing a new golden age. An increasingly conscientious youth uses it as a means of communication and vindication. Halkil He is one of its great spokespersons. He uses a mix of Wolof, French, English, and Soninké in his lyrics. This year he has presented a new album, Yigo, with some songs that reproduce well the demands of the young Senegalese. Perhaps the most listened to has been Mayma Chancand. But the most representative of his struggle is Wa kong ba, in which Mist Cash and One Lyrical participate.
Rocky Dawuni he is the only nominee from Ghana in the 64 editions of the Grammys. It is for the second time in his career because he already won one of the awards in 2019. This year he has released a new album, Voice of Bunbon Vol. 1, in which he tries to give a global vision of African culture. We listen to a song full of optimism, Beautiful people.
Nviiri The Storytelling
The kenyan Nviiri The Storytelling He was for years a lyricist for the group Soti Sol, until he decided to start his solo career. It was a risky move, but one that has obtained its reward, as we can see in its theme Niko Sawa in which well collaborates.
In this year in which the South African Amapiano style has been heard (and danced) in all corners of the African continent, one of its best representatives cannot be left out: DJ Maphorisa, the only local musician to appear on Spotify’s Top 10 Most Streamed Artists list. His most listened to song has been Izolo, in which Tyler ICU, Madumane, Mpura, Daliwonga and Visca collaborate.
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The best African music of 2021 according to Africa is not a Country