by Ryan Somma
African Music and Songs That You Don’t know About
People all over the world have one thing in common and that is the love for music. It can be simple spontaneous harmonies or complex musical compositions that take many months to perfect. Either way, music is an important part of our lives and even plays a part in how we relate to each other. The different types of music are formed by the culture it springs from. For example, African music tells the story of its culture and source.
African songs, as the name suggests, are songs that have their roots and origin in the continent of Africa. Africa is home to many different cultures from many different countries. Some of these cultures have been very prolific in getting their music out there and it has been accepted well by both the African and international markets. There have been different African songs that have made it to the world stage. Let’s take a look at a few.
The Afro Beat is one of the most easily recognized and most popular types of African music. These African songs blend together different styles to create a unique new sound. The Afro Beat draws from percussion, jazz, funky rhythms from the 70s, and Yoruba music. Fela Kuti is credited with creating this musical style. He was a Nigerian musician who used his music to express his radical political opinions. This style of music became very popular in Africa and has caught the attention of the world stage. It has grown into one of the most influential musical styles to emerge from Africa. A newer form or variation is Afro talk which was recently created by an artist simply known as Georgy B. This form of music is quickly gaining popularity and is the next genre of music to hit the airwaves.
Kwaito is another type of popular African song. This African music originated on the southernmost tip of Africa during the apartheid resistance. The local African tribes used their musical style to express their views on the political oppression they faced. Some say the oppression was overcome thanks in great part to this music. The love for Kwaito swelled from its beginnings in humble Africa, and has drawn attention from the world audience as well.
African music known as Lingala is common in the Central and East African regions. Its origins can be traced to the Democratic Republic of Congo. A particular form of Lingala known as Saben is said to have its rhythm based upon the sounds of a moving train. Saben is one of the most popular African songs and the most common form of Lingala. This musical influence has spread beyond the Congo and is played in many parts of Africa today.
Kapungala is another common form of African song. This African music is fairly new to the scene but is quickly gaining popularity in East Africa. Kapungala is actually a blend of Lingala and Kapuka. Kapuka is a traditional form of African music popular among the people of Kenya. Kapungala has successfully brought together the old and the new to form a distinct sound all its own.
Africa is perhaps most well known for its traditional African folk songs that have been passed down from generation to generation. These songs passed along the history of Africa and were designed to teach younger generations and guide moral inclinations. A lot of these traditional songs were work songs that African women sang as they went about their work duties or plowed fields as a group. The songs kept them motivated and provided an outlet for expression.
As you can tell, African music is quite diverse and has its roots in a rich and colorful history. Africa’s unique blend of cultures provides the world with rhythms and songs that tell the story of this vast continent. As African songs become more widely exposed and accepted by international listeners, the rest of the world will have the opportunity to love this music as much as those who live where it was born.
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