No occasion or ceremony is ever complete in Africa without music. We sing when a child is born, we sing when a child reaches puberty, and we also sing when they become adults and get married. At night when we sit around the fire or kerosene lamp to tell (Ananse) stories, we sing. We even sing when people die and when burying the dead, etc. Music is in fact a very vital tool in the work of the fishermen, herders, farmers, market women, and just about every other occupation in traditional African societies. It is therefore not surprising that psychologists have described Africans as musical people.
According to research conducted by scholars (musicologists), there are more music genres in Sub-Saharan Africa alone than the rest of the world put together. Hi-life, Juju, Hip-life (African hip-hop), Rai, Mbalax, Fuji, Milo, Kwela, Mbaqanga, Mbube, Afro-pop, Jit, Taarab, Makossa, Kwassa Kwassa, Benga, Jive, Soukous, Kwaito, Bongo Flavour are just a few of the many genres of music in Africa. Even the Africans in the Diaspora couldn’t forget their music after many years of separation from the motherland through slavery. Despite being physically removed from Africa, I guess they still carried the “music genes” within them. This is evident in genres such as Blues, Hip-hop (Rap), Soul, Funk, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jazz, Zouk, Rhythm and Blues, Salsa, Sumba, Calypso, Reggae, etc., which can all be traced to Africa.
Without a doubt, many years of colonization and the infiltration of foreign culture has destroyed many cultural practices on the continent but Africans’ love of music still remains alive. Even amidst all the conflicts and famine on the continent, Africans still find time to make music on empty stomachs because music is the food of the African soul. Many ignoramuses have argued that Africans have not contributed anything to the world; but the night clubs, parties, etc., all around the world would have surely been very boring without the creativity of Africa. It’s about time the world showed Africa some more respect.
Long live Africa!
Long live African music!