The world is looking into Africa. The prestigious Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, USA will be celebrating the unique diversity of African music in a new exhibition, ‘Sounds of Africa’, from Friday 24 June.
For a museum that was created to celebrate “the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the premier recognition of excellence in recorded music”, the fact that they are accepting of the existence of all those in the African music culture is worth celebrating.
The Grammy Museum will be exhibiting items ranging from; handwritten lyrics, costumes and rare instruments for the ‘Sounds of Africa’ exhibition. The items will occupy the third floor of the Grammy Museum building and the exhibition is an extension of the 2016 BET Awards, which will take place on 28 June.
Artists from South Africa, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Benin are expected to represent the continent at the exhibition. Part of the items displayed belong to or will come from; South African group Mafikizolo, Nigerian rapper Ice Prince (winner of the 2013 BET Awards Best International Act) and his countrymen 2Baba (aka 2face Idibia) and guitar great Sir Victor Uwaifo.
Materials from three-time Grammy award winner and Beninioise great, Angelique Kidjo and late Congolese rumba legend Tabu Ley Rochereau will also be featured.
Nigerian visual artist Laolu Sebanjo who worked on Beyonce’s visual album, will be the only non-musician to represent at the exhibition. Monde Twala from Viacom International Media Networks spoke on the more visible influence of African artists that this exhibition signifies;
“It’s fantastic to see the influence of African artists and music amplified in this unique exhibition in this iconic setting, we are excited about working with the Grammy Museum to create this fascinating tribute to legendary, traditional and contemporary African musicians.”
African artists are really enjoying increased visibility in the west. In recent months, a number of them have toured both Europe and the USA, they have done across-board collaborations and for this year’s BET awards, eight African artist are in the running for the Best International Act.
Some however see the increased exposure of African artists at this year’s edition as compensation after the displeasure expressed by the African music community following the 2015 edition of the BET award ceremony.