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Africa is a large continent and has a diverse culture. Music is an important part of the African tradition and very diverse in its cultures. African music also helps in various ways to bring people together in strengthening the community. Another crucial role of music in Africa is as a mode of communication. Talking drums, signal drums and songs carry different types of important messages.

There are a number of common elements to music within the continent. Sub-Saharan African music is different from other regions. The roles of music and dance are firmly woven together in sub-Saharan Africa, whiles music intersects with every aspect of life expresses them through medium of sound. Source:

Some genres in African music

Afro Beat

Afro Beat is a combination of traditional music such as highlife, funk, jazz and other Ghanaian and Nigerian music. Fela Kuti is known as the father of Afro beat. He inverted the music genre in Ghana in 1968 and has been enjoyed by many from Africa and other parts of the world. Today afro beat are mixed with other genre which include Makossa, Hip pop and Bongo Flavour. Some of the popular Afro beat artist are Sakordie, Wizkid, Davido, P- Square, R2B’s and many others.   


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DJ Deemaks - Afrobeats Groove Mix 2014 | 2016

(NAIJA MIX 2015) ft Flavour N'abania, Timaya, Kcee, Davido . . .
Official Ghana Party Mix 2016)Ft Sarkodie, Bisa Kdei . . .



Kizomba Dance and Music genre originated from Angola in the 1980’s. It is popular in most Portuguese speaking countries and Portugal especially in Lisbon. It is well known for its slow insistent and low harsh rhythms and it is ideally for partners to dance with. The modern Kizomba dance blended three styles together to form a musical dance.    

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Kizomba mix 2016 the best of Kizomba vol.2

Kizomba 2015 vol.3 (Best of Kizomba)


Soukous is also a popular dance music genre of the African Music originating from Congolese Ramba in the 1940 and gain popularity throughout Africa in the 1970. Soukous spread to the East African countries in the 1970 and spread to other parts of the world including UK and France in the 1980’s. Soukous Ndombolo is a mixture of Kwasa Kwasa with zouk style which has a very fast tempo and Congolese Rumba. Most popular Soukou musicians are Awilo Longomba, Koffi Olomide and Fally Ipupa.  

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Koffi olomide-moussoukou soukou




Highlife originally began in Ghana in the 1930s.It is a blend of brass band music with danceable and less rhythms of rumba and other music instruments. Today the genre has  become more Jazzy & swing influenced and has often been somewhat incorrectly called a jazz subgenre. Highlife is very popular in Nigeria, Ghana and their neighbouring countries and also paved the way for the globally better known Afrobeats.  

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Okwomnazu - King Oge Nwanne - 2015 Latest Nigerian Highlife Music

Classic Ghana Highlife Mix - Old School Mix




Isicathamiya music is a type of acappella choral singing style that was originated from South Africa by the migrants Zulu communities. It is not supported by any instrument.  The word "Iicathamiya" comes from the Zulu word meaning "to walk or step on ones’ toes lightly." is derived from traditional call-and-response vocal music and has a combination of  gospel song and blackace minstrelsy, a form of entertainment that flourished in the United States and England in the mid-to late 19th century. Isicathamiya music features more bass vocalists.   

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Soweto Gospel Choir

Hlanganani Isicathamiya Music Group - Lala Kahle




Taarab is a type of Swahili music with a long tradition. This genre of music is popular in Tanzania and Kenya. ‘The word Taarab comes from Arabic word meaning Having Joy with Music’ It is played for different purposes. For example, to overcome bereavement in a family. There are other types of Taarab songs that calms the soul and helps to ignore negative thoughts. It is advised to listen to Taraab music in desperate situations. Taarab songs are really a collection of all different kinds of things in life. Taarab Music genre is an explanation of life. Tarabu music will continue to entertain people with poetic and melodious songs for many years to come.  

Ikwhani Safaa and Culture Musical Club remain the leading Zanzibar Taarab orchestras.    

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Bango legend Mzee Ngala (Extended)

Diamond Platnumz ft Khadija Kopa - Nasema Nawe ( Official Music Video )

Diamond Platnumz - Utanipenda (Lyric with English Translation Video)




Makossa originated in Cameroon but its success has spread around the world. Makossa's origins can be traced back to the Cuban Salsa and a popular Congolese Rumba music genre. In 1972 the release of Manu’s “Soul Makossa” set the ground for the genre. Shortly after the release of Soul Makossa, it quickly spread throughout the African continent and was a success overseas especially in France. “Soul Makossa” has been reinterpreted at various times by many and in different styles, but the original remains the most popular.  

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Best of Cameroon Music V10 Makossa 2016

Solo Muna - Pemsan'a Makossa

Gordons & Awilo Longomba In Makossa




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Photo Credit: Katlego Mkhwanazi

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African Music