Africa, world’s second largest continent has a long and rich history of traditional music and folklore. African songs normally narrate great stories with vibrant drum beats accompanied by dance and rhythm. African songs are believed to be the oldest in existence, and narrate various epics, from poems to folklore. Most African songs are based on daily activities and the emotional stress that people go through in their day-to-day lives. African songs are very distinct, from outstanding sounds to rhythmic instruments. However, thanks to globalization, African songs have adopted a modern feel, with genres like zouk, rumba, salsa and jazz currently finding their way into western genres like blues, rock, and rhythm. If you have a soft spot for African songs, here are the top ten African songs you should listen to.
See Also: 10 Evergreen Nigerian Songs
Best of African Music
1. Yeke Yeke
Done by a Guinean musician known as Mory Konte, Yeke Yeke was originally released in 1998 in one of his albums dubbed Akwaba Beach. Immediately after release, the song became an instant hit not only in Africa but internationally as well. It became first African song to sell over a million copies. It actually topped many European countries’ lists. However, over the years, the song has experienced a number of remixes, the latest being the Afro Acid Mix which was made for the UK market. Another notable remix of the song was done in German, it became a huge favorite with Germans. It is arguably one of the Africans songs that cut across the global borders, thanks to the many remixes it has had.
2. Pata Pata
Done by celebrated South African songstress Miriam Makeba, this is one of the African songs that will continue to hit the airwaves for long. Also called the click song, it has numerous videos and viewers can always find a version of their liking.
3. African queen
African Queen was done by the talented Nigerian singer 2face Idibia and could be the most downloaded African song of all time. Boasting of a smooth, nice sound, African Queen has hit the airwaves in virtually all manner of occasions; from weddings to clubs and radios, there is no limit to where one can dance to the enchanting rhythms of this song. It celebrates African beauty and what makes an African woman stand out.
This is one of the songs that are common in most weddings, especially in Kenya and other East African countries. Written by a Kenyan songwriter Fadhili Williams in 1960, Malaika has come a long way to cement its place as one of Africa’s greatest songs. However, its popularity beyond Kenyan borders is attributed to Miriam Makeba’s remix. This is after Fadhili failed to copyright it, meaning that he could not enjoy any royalties arising from the sale of the song.
5. Vuli Ndlela
This was a very popular tune, especially in early 2000’s and later 90’s and continues to be that way, even today. It was done South African dance queen, the late Brenda Fasie in a local South African language. However, this language barrier did not deter people from lending this song their ears. A simple online search will reveal thousands of people from different nationalities asking for the song’s translation.
6. Premiere Gaou
This is one of the songs that those who lived in the early 1990’s can’t forget about. Even though most people do not understand a word in the lyrics, it was, and still is a party song that people dance to whenever they party or dance the night away. It was done by Ivorian dance group Magic System.
7. Sweet mother
Released by Prince Nico Mbarga in 1975, it is without a doubt one of Africa’s finest songs. The song celebrates mothers and became very famous when it was unanimously referred to as the anthem that unites Africa.
Umqombothi is one of the songs that utilize the use of a rich captivating voice. Done by Yvonne Chaka Chaka in the local Xhosa language, it talks about a local South African beer made from malt, yeast, maize malt and sorghum.
It is also known as Tsamina among many people. Originally done and recorded by the Cameroonian dance group Golden Sounds, Zangalewa is the type of song that is appreciated by both the young and the old. It was a battle song and has seen several remixes come up over the years, the latest by Shakira and it was used as the anthem song for the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa in 2010.
10. Danger De Mort
Done by one of Africa’s greatest musicians Kofi Olomide, Danger De Mort is one of the songs that have become a hit, especially among those that have a soft spot for dancing. Olomide is known the world over for his deep, rich voice and his outstanding performance abilities. This is one of the songs that have inspired other artists in Africa, a good example being Fali Ipupa.