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

344 artists, from
34 countries! More than
2750 albums featured
Latest site update: 2 September 2019
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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 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.

>>> More news here...

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1 September 2019:
The September 2019 World Music Charts Europe

New Artist Pages:
New pages 2019:
02/05: Soul Bang's
23/08: Titi

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

New Artist Pages:
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 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

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: Akorossi
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