African music superstars have been a bright spot for the continent. This year, the American music magazine Rolling Stone published its list of the 200 greatest vocalists of all time. Only a few African artists were highlighted. And here they are:
Burna Boy – 197th spot
The singer from Nigeria who won a Grammy and was nominated three times for Best Global Music Performance was praised for her voice. Magazine contributions are also highlighted. his “deep bass accents and insanely sophisticated polyrhythms.”
Fela Kuti – 188th spot
His “commanding,” “direct,” and “strong” tone was recognised by the leading music magazine. In the 1970s, his politically charged Nigerian nightclub, The Shrine, became a magnet for international stars, including Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.
Tabu Ley Rochereau – 178th spot
One of Congolese music’s kings is known for his significant contribution to the Rumba music style and his participation in the African Fiesta National Band. Rolling Stone praised his “tenor,” whose notes “floated hypnotically in the air.”
“This is a list of the greatest singers, not the greatest voices.” “What mattered most to us was originality, influence, the depth of an artist’s catalogue, and the breadth of their musical legacy.” – Rolling Stone Magazine
Mahlathini – 153rd spot
Known famously for the Lion of Soweto album. This South African singer is the first of two Rainbow Nation artists to be highlighted. Mahlathini has been recognised for his significant contribution to mbaqanga music.
Youssou N’dour – 69th spot
Representing Senegal in the last 70 years, Youssou N’dour, a Senegalese pop musician, has fused his country’s Mbalax with samba, jazz, soul, and even hip-hop over the years. The American magazine praised his “commanding” and “sky-high tenor.”
Umm Kulthum – 61th spot
The diva from Voice of the Arabs became a national symbol and an icon in all Arab-speaking countries. Her “powerful contralto,” which “conveyed breath-taking emotional range in complicated melodies,” was praised.
Miriam Makeba- 53rd spot
The “Pata Pata” singer is the continent’s final representative on the Rolling Stone list. The considerable “vocal individuality” of the South African artist was praised. The anti-apartheid activist travelled the world, always one song at a time, to bring attention to the plights of many of her contemporaries.