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.
349 artists, from 34 countries! More than 2900 albums featured
Latest site update: 1 June 2023
+++ 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+++
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.
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.
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.
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 ».
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.
• 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
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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).
• 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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