African Music Shines Globally: From FIFA World Cup to Grammy Awards


ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Feb 2, 2024

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African music is experiencing a breakthrough on the global stage, overcoming longstanding structural challenges to capture international audiences and dominate dance floors. The journey includes electrifying performances at the FIFA World Cup, a newly introduced Grammy Awards category, and an increased presence on global music charts.

A new Grammy category, “Best African Music Performance,” will be featured at the upcoming awards ceremony, recognizing regional musical traditions and applauding recordings that incorporate unique local expressions from across the African continent. Nigerian producer LeriQ, instrumental in Burna Boy’s Grammy-winning album “Twice As Tall,” views the Grammy as a global acknowledgment of musicians’ accomplishments and hard work.

Sub-Saharan Africa witnessed the fastest-growing recorded music revenues in 2022, as reported by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s Global Music Report 2023. This growth is fueled by emerging genres such as Afrobeats and Amapiano. Afrobeats, a blend of West African music styles, and Amapiano, combining South African kwaito with jazz, house music, and soulful vocals, have gained immense popularity.

Streaming platforms play a crucial role in promoting African music globally. Afrobeats streaming on Spotify alone has surged by over 500% since 2017. Nigerian artist Rema’s track “Calm Down,” featuring Selena Gomez, became the first by an African artist to reach 1 billion Spotify streams, marking a historic achievement.

A key factor in the success of Afrobeats lies in its reflection of daily life through a mix of Pidgin and local languages, melodies, drum patterns, heavy rhythms, and poetic styles. Songs often mirror the experiences, struggles, and culture of the people.

The appeal of African music has extended beyond entertainment, becoming a powerful tool for addressing societal issues. Artists like Nay wa Mitego and Burna Boy use their music to tackle corruption, governance, and police brutality, amplifying their voices against repression.

African music has graced major sporting events, with artists like Burna Boy and Davido performing at the UEFA Champions League final and FIFA’s Ballon d’Or event, respectively. The continent’s rich musical heritage is gaining recognition globally, with five-time Grammy winner Angélique Kidjo standing as one of its greatest exports.

While African music continues to captivate audiences worldwide, challenges persist, including limited funding, infrastructure issues, and the need for greater institutional support. The internet has played a pivotal role in democratizing African music, providing artists with opportunities to showcase their work and connect with audiences.

Despite hurdles, the global appeal of African music is on the rise. As the continent’s young and culture-savvy population continues to grow, the influence of African melodies and tunes is expected to increase, contributing to a diverse and dynamic global music landscape.

Bisi Adele
Bisi Adele
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