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African music goes global

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this week, The Times published a profile of TemsThe 28-year-old Nigerian singer-songwriter, who in recent years became the first African artist to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, appeared on Beyoncé’s album Renaissance and received an Oscar nomination for co-writing the song “Lift Me Up” for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is set to release her debut album next month.

To me, there’s a sincerity to Tems’s music—which straddles R&B and Afrobeats: Her vocals are earthy, her lyrics are straightforward, and her production isn’t usually particularly flashy. Her choruses are killer, though; they seem crafted to be hummed at home or screamed through a speaker. These elements combine to vividly capture the Feel — Whether it’s heartbreak (“penalty for damages“), resistance (“Crazy things”) or pious (“You and I”).

So it’s no surprise that the track sheds some light on her vibe-based songwriting process. “I just have a feeling, I have signals,” she told New York Times reporter Reggie Ugwu. “You’re just the vessel, it just comes out of your mouth.”

Temes is one of several artists from African countries to enter the Western mainstream music scene. Last year, Burna Boy sold out concerts, and in February, the first Grammy Award for Best African Music Performance went to South African singer Tyla for her song “Water.” Western artists such as Beyoncé, Drake, Usher, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have also introduced African artists in their music or appeared in remixes of already popular songs.

last year, Old World, Young AfricaThis is a New York Times project on Africa’s youth population boom. I had a conversation with Nigerian artist Mr. EaziOne benefit of the growing popularity of African music, he told me, is that Africans are able to take ownership of some of the narratives about the continent. “People first discovered Africa not through the lens of CNN or The New York Times,” he said, but “through the lens of music.”

There are many reasons for the global attention – the talented artists, the border-crossing power of the internet, the collaborations with Western stars – but as a Brit, I can personally speak to the role of the diaspora.

My connection to the music of the African continent began with my father, who often sang high life music in the Igbo language of Nigeria—songs that crackled with time and featured piercing guitar riffs.Here is an example.) As my peers and I grew up, we gradually began to appreciate African music without the influence of our parents. Songs by artists such as D’banj, Wizkid and Burna Boy were often played at family gatherings.

There is an active cultural exchange between the African continent and the diaspora. Young Africans abroad attend concerts and festivals, such as African ethnic groupsMany people travel to Nigeria and Ghana to party during the festival, affectionately known as theDedi DecemberMr. Ezi told me that the African diaspora in places like Britain has played a major role in promoting African music around the world: “These are the people who define what is cool and embrace their Africanness,” he said.

Here’s the Playlist for Your Holiday Weekend Picnic; which includes well-known names from the continent and some artists from abroad. Amapiano (a genre of house music that originated in South Africa) also makes an appearance, as does “1er Gaou”, an Ivorian song that is a staple at Africa Hall parties. Enjoy.

related: Hip-hop music dominates the French music scene. Inject new words and phrases From Africa into the suburbs and cities of France.

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