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16 Facts On African Music History



“Music speaks louder than words.”  - African Proverb

Music in Africa has always been used for different reasons to accompany various events, including celebration, hunting, marriage, child birth, politics and worship. What’s music to you? A means to tell stories, joyous sounds of instruments, a collection of sounds that transforms your state of being or something to dance to. Whatever music is to you, it’s a known fact that music is a significant component of any culture; and Africa is rich with different sounds that have gone on to shape our dear planet and way of life. Here are some interesting facts about African music that you should know: Drum Show
  1.       Highlife originated in Ghana and was exported to Nigeria in 1951
  2.       The dùndún pressure drum (talking drum), popularly associated with the Yoruba culture, was introduced around the 15th century, as it appeared in plaques made during that period in the kingdom of Benin. dundun1
  3.       The lamellaphone, a small box-resonated musical instrument, called the likembe in Congo, was invented in the lower Congo region during the mid-19th century.
  4.       East African music is known to have been influenced by Arabic, Indonesian, Indian and Polynesia music.
  5.       Some African tribes sing there music nude, with the men and women dancing together.
  6.       Blues emerged at the end of the 19th century as a form of self-expression for African-Americans, who were captured in Africa and brought over to America to become slaves. It emerged from a blend of spiritual songs, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants that were sung during a hard day's work.
  7.       While Jazz originated from the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities after they were freed from slavery. Jazz uses improvisation, polyrhythm, and melodic patterns, which are also commonly used in African music
  8.       African music has had the largest influence on western music through the slave trade. The slaves brought their drums and banjos and influenced popular music of the last century through blues and jazz
  9.       The banjo and the guitar originated from Africa.
  10.   The Senegalese band, Toure Kunda, pioneered the African invasion of Europe with the fusion of western-style melodies and reggae rhythms performed on traditional instruments with the album, “Freres Griots” (1979).
  11.   African music is said to have greatly influenced Scottish folk music, Irish music and white American music.
  12.   Drums are known to be the most common instruments in African music. African drums include the djembe, talking drum and bata drum.
  13.   Senegal music legend, Youssou N'Dour, who became a teenage sensation with the band Etoile De Dakar, released “Xalis” (1979) which established mbalax (a fusion of popular Western music and dance such as jazz, soul, and rock blended with sabar, the traditional drumming and dance music of Senegal) as a major form of dance music.African-Music
  14.   Cameroon saxophonist, Manu Dibango, started a vogue for makossa (basically, highlife with a steady rhythm), that spread from Cameroon to nearby countries, with his proto-disco groove, “Soul Makossa” (1972).
  15.   Guinean kora player, Mory Kante’s dance-floor single, “Yeke Yeke” (1987), is the first ever African single to sell over one million copies.Lucky Dube Rastas Never Die
  16.   Ermelo "Lucky" Dube became the first reggae star of South Africa with “Rastas Never Die” (1985).
  Written By: Olusola Agbaje

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