Forum: Does real African music still exist?
In the latest issue of our magazine, Gordon Glyn-Jones wonders what is happening to 'real' African music, as musicians of African origin become more prominent in Western charts.
What's your view?
If the sound of African music is so appealing to international audiences, why do so many African musicians, like Tinchy Stryder and Akon, seem to dilute their sound to appeal to a Western audience?
Should African musicians stick to their original Africa sounds?
Does 'real' African music still exist?
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To take part in the debate simply fill in the form on the right. A selection of your comments will appear below.
Sianah Nalika DeShield, Monrovia, Liberia:
African music does exist but we Africans take to western music and don't promote our own traditional music. We need to love ourselves.
Atina Ndindeng, London, UK:
African music has a very rich past and can never be underminded but paradoxically real African music has lost its status because of crass materialism. All artists promote only values of African music that will benefit them and make them richer, therefore originality has been killed and most African musical productions always have a western touch to sell in the market. Therefore are we custodians of our culture or have we become slaves to western imperialism because of money?
Yusuf Abdul Salam, Kano State, Nigeria:
To me, African music simply implies music from an African, with some African message and an African beat, either in an African language or otherwise. An African musician must not reduce everything to archaic performance. Our music must move with time.
Major Samukai Jr, Monrovia, Liberia:
African music still has the traditional sound of peace, love and unity, so yes real African music still exists. All African musicians need is encouragement and support. Those of us who have the passion must encourage African musicians in a positive way.
Patrick G. Zellay, Chicago, United States:
African musicians do not have the financial or moral support from their fan base
Efua Adeziwa Apprey, Accra, Ghana:
Yes real African music still exists. But we must admit, the 'music market' is flooded with western rhythms which sadly appeal to we Africans more. This muffles the vibe of real African musicians. Amandziba, Osibisa, Ga Wulomo, all of Ghana still uses real African rhythms and vibrations
Mark Otanga, Magada, Kenya:
When we talk of real African music how many of us have authentic African music cds? Very few indeed. I believe the African beat is unrecorded and you will have to visit funerals, weddings, farms etc to experience the sound of Africa
Stephen Joe, Douala, Cameroon:
Of course I think that real African music exists. The problem is that Africa does not know how to publicise its music by using new technology and the internet. There is also a lack of patriotism by many Africans who think only about how to make money instead of how to promote the culture of their forefathers
Tendai Njagu, Harare, Zimbabwe:
To start a discussion on African music and give an example of Tinchy and Akon as representing music from Cape to Cairo is an insult to music and all the African musicians. Indeed music in the motherland is alive, well, original and still very diverse. Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Ndere Dance Troupe, Habib Koite, Angelique Kidjo, Judith Sephuma, Ismael Lo just to mention a few African musicians have always stuck to what they know best, the original sound. Tinchy Stryder and Akon did not grow up in the dusty townships of Africa, their music reflects the influence of their surrounding. What a patronising topic to anyone knowlegeable in anything remotely African. This post is a non issue
Nana Essiful, Accra, Ghana:
Well l think in some way we Africans are begining to lose our original music. We are shifting to hip-hop because we just want to fit in and sell worldwide but l think that should not be the case at all. People like Youssou N'dour, Salif Ketta, Miriam Makeba and Angelique Kidjoe all made it because they have that originality in their music and they have gone very far. Let's stick to our music and lets see what happens
Mariama Pabai, Monrovia, Amegashine Junction, Liberia:
The 21st century generation is more favourable towards Western music than African music which means that African music is on the brink of catastrophy and African music has lost it prestige and momentum. It needs a saviour to restore the dignity of African music
Mohammed Konneh, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States:
The spirit of real African music is going extinct due to the practice and adaptation of Western music into African music settings
Sena Nani, Ayanfuri, Ghana:
I'm of the view that African music is gradually going extinct because of the rate at which local music has been adulterated with the western style of music. African music, such as the Osibisa Band (Ghana), Fela Kuti (Nigeria) and Angelique Kidjo, just to mention a few, are rare to find on the streets of Africa these days
Njuguna Mwaniki Wakababa, Kiambu, Kenya:
True African music still exists, with traditional dancers and musicians. But we never have a chance of seeing them in the media since we don't like them. But a few African musicians like Angelina Kidjo, Baba Maal and Manu Dibango have done us proud. They never conform
William Kokulo, Zelemai, Liberia:
Yes indeed, real African music does still exist and all a musician needs is the support from Africans themselves and for people to have the passion to listen to African music. African music addresses our numerous problems in Africa. Congratulations to all African musicians