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The Different African Music Genres

The continent of Africa is a rich terrain of diverse musical styles, many of which have been featured on recordings and world charts. If Africa is famous for one thing, it will be its diversity and its rich culture. these two things are known to be heavily exported by Music. Without a doubt, Africa has put us on the international market with music more than anything else.

below is the list of some genres of music from Africa.

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African Drums


This dance music developed from the traditional music of the Beti in Cameroon. The sexy dance moves remind of the popular Mapouka from the Ivory Coast.


Fela Kuti created Afrobeat by fusing traditional Nigerian music, jazz and highlife. Today, it is often mixed with hip hop or makossa and well known even outside Africa


Soukous is a form of music that stems from rumba. The late Franco Luambo, who died in 1989 (a.k.a. Luambo Makiadi), performed soukous music with his band OK Jazz for 30 years. Later dubbed TPOK Jazz, the band played Cuban sounds, but Franco also made prominent use of rhythms and themes from his home in the Belgian Congo, which earned him the title “Sorcerer of the guitar”.
Soukous music originated in Zaire, now The Democratic Republic of Congo. Zairean musicians looked for ways to strip Rumba music down. Paris based Conogolese artist Papa Wemba, who died in 2016, performed with two bands— Viva la Music for soukous, and Molokai, featuring French session players, for his pop crossover music.


A style of popular Senegalese music known in the Serer language as mbalax, it derives from the conservative Serer music tradition of Njuup. In 1979 ‘Little Prince of Dakar’ Youssou N’Dour formed the Super Etoiles and became the most popular exponent of Senegal’s mbalax pop. As well as coming out of the Wolof-dominated capital Dakar, he uses traditional polyrhythms of sabar and tama drumming. Youssou built a massive recording studio in Dakar called Xippi or ‘Eyes Open’. In 1994, Youssou’s collaboration with American/British hip-hop singer Neneh Cherry —the song ‘7 Seconds’— sold over 1.5 million copies and won MTV Europe’s Best Song award.


Zilin is a style rooted in Benin’s unique traditional vocal technique. The strong influence of the voodoo religion is an important part of Benin, which tells of healing and rejuvenating talismans (fetishes). Angelique Kidjo – the queen of African crossover pop, uses the zilin vocal technique. Angelique has often been criticised for having abandoned her African roots, but the impact of her career on African music is undeniable. Now based in New York, she often goes back to her native village Ouidah for spiritual inspiration.


Ubongo has roots from ngoma, vugo, kumbwuya and the driving chakacha with its sexual overtones, which animate most forms of taarab: the music that explores romance and marriage in Tanzania. Swahili for “music of the brain” but it also has heart, bongo grew out of Dar es Salaam’s urban poor. Remmy Ongala tackles thorny social and political issues through music created in this style. In this track, he promotes the use of condoms to protect against AIDS. The song proved too much for Radio Tanzania, which refused to play it. But live shows and black-market tapes ensured that few urban Tanzanians missed the message.


The language and music of Somalia is a mixture of African and Arabic influences. Maryam Mursal’s life and art have intertwined to produce a sound that profoundly reflects these influences: a powerful blend of Islam and Africa that she calls “Somali Jazz”.

Apala Apala:

is a percussion-based style of the Muslim Yoruba people in Nigeria, West Africa.

Assiko Assiko is a rhythmic dance from Cameroon.

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