Frank Bessem's Musiques d'Afrique

:: en français ::
Kamele Ngoni
African music... music of a continent. The diversity in styles and the sheer infinite number of artists makes it impossible to be exhaustive. This is therefore only a selection of musicians of some African countries (mainly Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Senegal and Congo). The selection is mainly based on what I like... You'll find complete discographies, and concise biographies of the featured artists and bands. The emphasis is on popular urban African music.

If you have any comments, corrections or new information to add, please let me know

351 artists, from
34 countries! More than
3000 albums featured
Latest site update: 2 July 2024
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Mansour Seck• 05-06-2024: Senegalese guitarist and singer Mansour Seck, a longlasted musical companion of Baaba Maal has died on 29 May in the Dakar-Fann hospital
Mansour Seck was part of the early days of Maal's band Daande Lenol, but already since their adolescent years, a companion and close friend of Baaba Maal. With subtle guitar, a second voice next to Baaba Maal, and recurrent "Wallaahi" yells, the band, Senegal, Africa and the world looses a exceptionally kind and humble man. Baaba Maal & Mansour Seck's album « Djam Leelii » is included in the publication "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die".

Various Breaking News
+++ 27 December 2021: Congolese singer and band leader Defao died in Douala hospital Laquintinie after a Covid-19 infection +++ 25 June 2021: Cameroonian singer Wes died +++ 21 June 2021: Guinean djembé master Mamady Keita died of heart failure in Brussels, Belgium +++ 14 June 2021: Malian singer Tata Bambo Kouyaté died after period of illness+++

Thione Seck• 14-03-2021: Senegalese singer Thione Seck died in Dakar this morning
One of the biggest stars of modern Senegalese music, Thione Seck died after a short ilness. Thione Ballago Seck started his career in Orchestre Baobab, at the end of the 1980s, his solo career took off and he remained popular until our era, even if he was at age and less active in music over the last decade.

Mory Kanté• 22-05-2020: Guinean 'electric griot' Mory Kanté died in Conakry this 22 May 2020
Mory Kanté was chronically ill since some time, and received periodic treatment in France, but due to the COVID-19 Corona crisis, he was not able to travel outside of his home country anymore.
Mory left Guinea for Mali in 1960, and in the early 1970s he joined the Rail Band, as lead singer. Originally balafon player, he also mastered the guitar and the kora. A first solo album was recorded in the USA early 1980s, and in 1987/88, he has a global hit with « Yé Ké Yé Ké », reaching high positions on the charts in many European countries. The song has been remixed countless times over the years. Mixing modern pop music and traditional West African music, he was a pioneer of popular African music. He remained active until very recently.

Tony Allen• 02-05-2020: Nigerian drummer Tony Allen (Afrobeat/Fela Kuti) suddenly died on 30 April 2020
Tony Oladipo Allen (born in Lagos 12 August 1940) started playing drum only when he was 18 years old, and learned it by himself, inspired by African music and American Jazz. When he teamed up with Fela Kuti, he developed the rhythmic basis of Afrobeat, from Highlife and Yoruba polyrhythmics. The 1960s and 1970s were the artistic highlights of Fela's Africa70, a band that would evolve into Egypt80. Tony Allen left the band during the 1980s, and left for London before settling in Paris, where he would live until his death. Although 79 years old, he was fit and still performing, but on 30 April he felt ill and was brought into hospital, and died the same evening of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Manu Dibango• 24-03-2020: Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango loses his battle against Corona virus (COVID-19)
Star saxophone player, band leader, composer Manu Dibango died today, as was announced on his official Twitter account, from complications due to COVID-19. Seemingly, his situation was improving last week, but in the end he lost the battle at the age of 86. Manu Dibango was born in 1933, and moved to France in 1949, where he discovered jazz music. He then spent some years in Brussels and Kinshasa before returning to Paris. He recorded more than 50 albums (including compilation albums), and was most famous for his signature song « Soul Makossa ».

Kasse Mady Diabaté• 28-05-2018: Much respected griot from Mali, Kasse Mady Diabaté died
Malian singer Kasse Mady Diabaté died in the night of 24 May 2018 in Bamako, after a period of illness. He was born in 1949 in Kela, a village 8 km of Kangaba, a small town which is seen as the centre of wisdom of the griots, and where everything seems to breath spirituality and history. As a small child, he had to work in the fields, and was singing during the hard work. Very soon, people noticed the resemblance to the voice of his great grandfather Bintoufana Diabaté, nicknamed himself Kasse Mady. His voice didn't remain unnoticed and he was soon asked to lead the newly created Orchestre de Kangaba, and as of 1973, he was one of the singers in Las Maravillas du Mali, a band set up by musicians who enrolled in conservatory in Cuba. Since 1976, he continued with remaining band members under the new name National Badema.

Papa Wemba• 24-04-2016: Congolese singer and fashion icon Papa Wemba dead during concert
Congolese singer, bandleader, afro-pop and rumba icon Jules Shungu Wembadio Pene Kikumba aka Papa Wemba died this morning at the age of 66 during what turned out to be his last concert on the Festival des musiques urbaines d'Anoumabo (FEMUA) in Côte d'Ivoire. He collapsed during the third song, and He died shortly after. Papa Wemba was among the greatest of all Congolese vocalists and bandleaders, he has been had a leading role in important bands such as Zaiko Langa Langa, Isifi Lokole, Yoka Lokole and founded himself Viva la Musica, and also Nouvelle Ecriture / Nouvelle Ecrita, Nouvelle Tendance and Village Molokai.

• 25-10-2015: new clip of Darré by Moh! Kouyaté featuring Mariama
Moh!'s first album « Loundo (Un jour) » was released in early 2015. The album comes with refreshing songs, showing influences of Mandingo music, afro-beat, mixed with funky elements on the song « Yéllé ». There are featurings by Vincent Ségal and Piers Faccini on « Gassata », and by singer Mariama (from Sierra Leone) on « Darré ». Of this song, the video clip has been released.

Moussa Ngom• 11-10-2015: Senegambian icon Moussa Ngom died
Gambian singer Moussa Ngom died 11 October 2015 in the Aristide Le Dantec Hospital in Dakar, Senegal. He was buried the next day in the religious town of Touba, also in Senegal. This shows that he was at home as well in Senegal as in his home country the Gambia. In music, he was famous as singer of Guelewar de Banjul, spent a few years (until 1988) in Super Diamono, after that he started a solo career. Moussa Ngom was respected for his honesty and simplicity, he was seen as a follower of Panafricanism, and he has always advocated a Senegambian entente.

Bako Dagnon• 07-07-2015: Untimely death of Bako Dagnon
Sometimes referred to as Mali's best guarded secret, songstress Bako Dagnon died in the early morning of 7 July at the Hospital Point G in Bamako. She has had a 40-years career in music, for 10 years she was part of the Ensemble Instrumental National du Mali along with several stars. Respected among fellow Malians, and also by prominent artists, she received more (international) fame in the 21th Century, after her recordings with Mandekalou, followed by two much acclaimed international solo albums.

Rogbane beach• 29-07-2014: Drama on the beach, 33 dead after rap concert on Conakry beach.
A rap concert organised at the end of Ramadan season turned into a drama. After performances by Banlieuz'art and Instinct Killers, a massive crowd tried to find its way out of the Rogbane beach area while others still tried to get in. Among the dead there were many young people, mainly teenagers, some were apparently even as young as 12 years old. Guinean President Alpha Condé declared one week of national mourning and measures were announced to prevent this in future. The organisers, Malick Kébé and Ablaye M'Baye are held in custody. A similar event occurred at another beach in Guinea's capital Conakry, Lambanyi beach on the 1st of January 2014. Several people died when a small bridge collapsed under the weight of a crowd during a New Year's eve party.

Record Store Day• 19-04-2014: Record Store Day 2014
Exclusive limited edition releases at this year's Record Store Day, such as Amadou Balake's « Bar Konon Moussou Bar ». This years, about 250 exclusive releases mainly on vinyl are released at the occasion of the Record Store Day, which started in the US in 2007. In the following years, record stores in many countries started to participate in order to promote sales of records. Other African releases:
Bombino: « Agamgam 2004 »;
Fela Ransome Kuti & His Koola: « Se E Tun De/Waka Waka » (7'');
V/A: « Rough Guide to Mali » (2nd Edition).

Record Store Day• 13-02-2014: The King of Congolese pop has died
King Kester Emeneya, born 1956 as Jean Emeneya Mubiala Kwamambu, died in a Paris hospital in the early morning of 13 February 2014. Emeneya started his career with Papa Wemba's Viva la Musica, before establishing his own orchestra Victoria Eleison. He had many hits, innovative songs and memorable concerts and tours, in Congo as well as in the US, Japan, Switzerland and France (Zénith, Olympia). Emeneya was having health problems since he was shocked to hear about the death of Tabu Ley 30 November of last year.

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Read the latest newsletter:
Newsletter Oct.-Dec. 2012
Newsletter September 2012
Newsletter August 2012

2 July 2024:
The July 2024 World Music Charts Europe

New Artist Pages:
New pages 2024:
25/03: Safary
08/04: Saifond Baldé

New pages 2023:
17/03: Black AD

New pages 2022:
18/06: Adiouza

New pages 2021:
23/10: Mdungu

New pages 2020:
08/04: Aya Nakamura

New pages 2019:
02/05: Soul Bang's
23/08: Titi
15/12: Toofan

New pages 2018:
20/02: Pape Diouf
14/04: Djénéba & Fousco
25/06: Charlotte Dipanda
09/09: Sona Jobarteh

New pages 2017:
11/02: Tita Nzebi
01/04: Instinct Killers
21/06: Kantala
09/10: Aida Samb

New pages 2016:
05/03: Djeneba Seck
22/04: Bamba Wassoulou Groove
19/05: M'Toro Chamou
21/08: Sekou Kouyaté
19/09: Wellington 'Bitumba' Maruta
29/10: Vieux Kanté

New pages 2015:
29/04: Bko Quintet
22/07: Moh! Kouyaté
07/09: Ruth Kotto
19/12: Banlieuz'art

New pages 2014:
29/01: Bil Aka Kora
26/02: Les Têtes Brûlées
17/04: Amy Collé Dieng
23/07: Ben Zabo
29/09: Sultan Zembellat
23/10: Queen Biz

New pages 2013:
27/01: Takeifa
24/02: Les Golden Sounds
30/04: Andra Kouyaté
30/07: Mbarga Soukous
25/09: Ma Sané & Waflash
31/10: Samba Touré
29/11: H'Sao
28/12: Tal National

Page Updates
New albums 2024:
20/01: Youssou N'dour: Spécial fin d'année 2022 (2022 album)
22/01: Alioune Nder: 30 ans déjà
26/01: Oliver N'Goma: Best of (Lusafrica 35th Anniversary Edition)
16/02: Omar Pene: Thione, l'album
24/02: Sidi Touré: Afrik Toun Mé (2020 album)
04/03: Omar Ka: Kawral
06/03: Tiken Jah Fakoly: Acoustic
13/03: Moh! Kouyaté: Mokhôya
15/04: Super Biton: Afro Jazz Folk Collection Vol. 2
15/04: Mama Sissoko: Live
19/04: Bassekou Kouyaté: Djudjon
18/05: Black AD: Idjidja III (Hawa)
08/06: N'faly Kouyaté: Re-Génération: Part. 1
28/06: Dobet Gnahoré: Zouzou

New albums 2023:
13/01: King Mensah: Denyigba (2020 album)
05/02: Aya Nakamura: DNK
16/02: Sona Jobarteh: Badinyaa Kumoo
04/03: Baaba Maal: Being
19/03: Ali Farka Touré: Voyageur
23/05: Blick Bassy: Mádibá
30/06: Lokua Kanza: Moko
13/07: Tinariwen: Amatssou
22/09: Idrissa Soumaoro: Diré
15/10: Aida Samb: Nangu
09/11: Abdou Guité Seck: Kakatar
28/12: Adiouza: Plan B

New albums 2022:
02/01: Queen Eteme: Amazing Experience
11/03: Oumou Sangaré: Timbuktu
24/03: Fally Ipupa: Tokooos II Gold
09/04: Alune Wade: Sultan
13/04: Djeli Moussa Diawara: Par amour
12/06: Vieux Farka Touré: Les Racines
16/07: Coco Mbassi: Ashuka Series Vol. 1
10/09: BKO: Djine Bora
29/09: Soul Bang's: Evolution, Vol. 2
24/10: Pape Diouf: Far West Africa
29/10: Alpha Blondy: Eternity
29/11: Tiken Jah Fakoly: Braquage de pouvoir
22/12: Fally Ipupa: Formule 7
24/12: JB Mpiana: Balle de match
26/12: Ferre Gola: Dynastie

New albums 2021:
01/01: Kamaldine: Wo dignè m'ma (2013 album)
04/01: Doura Barry: Best of (2016 album)
14/01: Espoirs de Coronthie: 20 ans de carrière (2016 album)
20/01: Camayenne Sofa: Ma Guinée (2019 album)
31/01: Daby Touré & Chris Velan: Emissaire Vol. 1
11/02: Kélétigui et ses Tambourinis: Soundiata (2019 album)
14/02: Femi Kuti: Stop The Hate (plus For(e)ward by Made Kuti, Femi's son)
24/03: Rachel Ratsizafy: Out Of This World (2010 album)
25/03: Samba Touré: Binga
23/04: Toumani Diabaté & The London Symphony Orchestra: Kôrôlén
02/05: Manou Gallo: Afro Groove Queen (2018 album)
04/06: Dobet Gnahoré: Couleur
16/06: Angelique Kidjo: Mother Nature
17/07: Omar Pene: Climat
05/08: Fode Baro: Personne n'est dieu
13/08: Sam Tshintu & Academia: Eyoma (2019 album)
03/09: Super Biton de Segou: Afro Jazz Folk Collection Vol. 1
25/09: Hadja Kouyaté: Ayé Yafa (2019 album)
12/12: M'Toro Chamou: Sika Mila (2019 album)
13/12: Youssou N'Dour: Mbalax
18/12: Sally Nyolo & Djeli Moussa Diawara: Mvetkora (2016 album)

New albums 2020:
01/01: Daara-J Family: Yaamatele
02/01: Doudou Copa: Loin des barreaux
03/01: Bil Aka Kora: Fulu
08/01: Orchestra Baobab: Mouhamadou Bamba
16/01: Felix Wazekwa: Article 23
02/02: Ismael Lo: Gor Sayina
04/02: Queen Biz: Puissance 3
08/02: Pape Diouf: Enjoy
08/02: Viviane Chidid: Benen Level
10/03: Abdou Guite Seck: Coup d'État
23/03: Instinct Killers: Genre Genre
23/06: Oumou Sangaré: Acoustic
08/07: Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko: Nunto
25/07: Afel Bocoum: Lindé
08/08: Fatou Guewel: Borom Khayra
01/10: Alioune Nder & le Setsima Groupe: Mbegël Rek
01/11: Orchestra Baobab: Si Bou Odja
14/11: Nahawa Doumbia: Kanawa
21/11: Aya Nakamura: Aya
10/12: Faadah Kawtal: Saboulou
18/12: Jessy Matador: El commandante
23/12: Fally Ipupa: Tokooos II

New albums 2019:
06/01: Adolphe Dominguez: Amitié suite & fin
06/01: Adolphe Dominguez: Amitié
07/02: Coumba Gawlo: Terrou Waar
11/02: Youssou Ndour: Respect
19/02: Bassekou Kouyaté: Miri
10/03: Bamba Wassoulou Groove: Dankele: Live Sessions
16/03: Blick Bassy: 1958
09/04: Gino Sitson: Echo Chamber
03/05: Youssou Ndour: History
11/05: Tiranké Sidimé: Alabarika, vol. 1 & vol. 2
22/05: Tiken Jah Fakoly: Le monde est chaud
15/06: Angelique Kidjo: Celia
19/06: Tita Nzebi: From Kolkata
02/09: Mah Damba: Hakili Kélé
02/11: Tinariwen: Amadjar
10/11: Habib Koite: Kharifa
17/11: Roga Roga & Extra Musica: 242
23/11: Erik Aliana: Ancestors
01/12: Kantala: Jardin d'hiver / Antalo (EP)
09/12: Doussou Bagayoko: Sinaban
14/12: Diogal: Roadside
17/12: Werrason: Formidable
19/12: Werrason: Formidable (Bonus)

New albums 2018:
19/01: Seun Kuti: Black Times
25/01: Alune Wade: African Fast Food
10/02: Femi Kuti: One People One World
17/03: Le Karmapa: Caligula Vol.1 & Vol.2
23/03: Samba Touré: Wande
25/03: Banlieuz'art: Koun Faya Koun - Kalanke
01/04: Tal National: Tantabara
06/05: Sidi Touré: Toubalbero
12/05: Dobet Gnahoré: Miziki
08/06: Touré Kunda: Lambi Golo
18/07: Stella Chiweshe: Kasahwa: Early Singles
20/08: Alpha Blondy: Human Race
06/10: Salif Keita: Un autre blanc
26/10: H'Sao: Saar
10/11: Fally Ipupa: Control
03/12: Abdou Guité Seck: Ndioukeul
14/12: Sayon Bamba: Disko Tek
14/12: Sayon Bamba: Gnogué Tömbo
21/12: Angelique Kidjo: Remain in Light
24/12: Werrason: 7 jours de la semaine

New albums 2017:
07/01: Tinariwen: Elwan
14/01: Golden Sounds: Zangalewa - Caporal Grille
10/02: Kabosé Bulembi: Voici l'artiste Zakala aaah!
04/03: Orchestra Baobab: Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng
06/03: Viviane Chidid: Wuyuma
23/04: Oumou Sangaré: Mogoya
03/05: Tim Winsey: Tari N'Dari
04/05: Vieux Farka Touré: Samba
27/05: Elie Kamano: Malaya
04/06: Ferre Gola: QQJD (3 volumes)
09/07: Fally Ipupa: Tokooos
11/07: Takeifa: Gass Giss
15/07: Koffi Olomide: Nyataquance
20/08: Youssou N'Dour: Seeni Valeurs
10/09: Amadou & Mariam: La Confusion
14/09: Moh! Kouyaté: Fé Toki
16/09: Papa Wemba: Ainsi soit-il - 123 titres essentiels
16/09: Papa Wemba: Forever de génération en génération
01/10: Xalam: Waxati
06/10: Seun Kuti: Struggle Sounds
11/10: Queen Biz: Eksina
02/12: Boubacar Traoré: Dounia Tabolo
06/12: Daby Baldé: Couleurs Senegal
14/12: Amadou Balaké: In Conclusion
21/12: Aida Samb: Woyalma

New albums 2016:
06/01: Coumba Gawlo: Sen Gawlo Yeksina
14/01: Baaba Maal: The Traveller
24/01: Omar Ka & A Fula's Call: Liingu
07/02: Rokia Traoré: Né So
16/02: Angélique Kidjo: Sings
17/02: Vieux Farka Touré: Touristes
09/03: Djelimady Tounkara: Djely Blues
17/03: Adama Yalomba: Waati Sera
31/03: Adama Secka et les Damels: Wakh
05/05: Henri Dikongue: Diaspora
22/05: Ba Cissoko: Djéli
01/06: Nawal: Embrace the Spirit
11/06: Hadja Kouyaté: A Korossi
21/06: Fac Alliance: Gorko Sussaï
25/06: Richard Bona: Heritage
06/07: Kaloum Star: Lalaba
23/07: Kerfala Kanté: Djely Laye
23/07: Kerfala Kanté: Merci
30/07: Elie Kamano: Mafiafrik
05/09: Roga Roga & Extra Musica: Oyo Ekoya Eya
01/10: Abakuya: EP
20/10: Etienne Mbappé: How Near How Far
24/10: Erik Aliana: Just My Soul
02/11: Gino Sitson: Body & Voice
06/11: Zedess: Résistances
04/12: Mawndoe: Ky Dan C
04/12: Smarty: Afrikan Kouleurs
05/12: Doudou Copa: Posso
17/12: Orchestre Poly-Rythmo: Madjafalao

New albums 2015:
10/01: Grace Decca: Mouna
14/01: Felix Wazekwa: I Love You
17/01: Werrason: Flèche Ingeta
01/02: Boubacar Traoré: Mbalimaou
12/02: Mathey: Tu m'as dit
27/02: Bassekou Kouyaté: Ba Power
21/03: Toumani Diabaté: Toumani & Sidiki
08/04: Gino Sitson: VoiStrings
11/04: Amity Meria: Djanto
17/04: Gesse Roy: Esprit Rebel Spirit
04/05: Tal National: Zoy Zoy
15/05: Samba Touré: Gandadiko
23/05: Blick Bassy: Akö
11/06: Papa Wemba: Maître d'école
22/06: Cheikh Lo: Balbalou
27/06: Alune Wade & Harold Lopez-Nussa: Havana-Paris-Dakar
11/07: Magic System: Radio Afrika
01/08: Alpha Blondy: Positive Energy
20/08: Daby Touré: Amonafi
12/09: Andra Kouyaté: Je vous aime
14/09: Tiken Jah Fakoly: Racines
02/10: Suzanna Lubrano: Vitoria
13/10: Koffi Olomide: 13ième Apôtre
05/11: Victor Démé: Yafaké
10/12: Kandia Kouyaté: Renascence
23/12: Viviane: Retaan