African music is taking over the world’s airwaves, but most listeners aren’t up to speed on the variety of styles represented by their favorite tunes. Grammy.com gives us a crash course in five of the top genres emanating from the continent.
Considered both a music genre and a dance from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ndombolo is also popular in other African countries such as Madagascar, Tanzania, and Kenya. Afroswing is very successful derivative of dancehall and Afrobeats was developed in the United Kingdom during the mid-2010s, also known as Afrobashment.
Descending from the French word secousse, which means to “shock, jolt, or jerk,” and 1960s Congolese rumba, Soukous is a celebrated genre of dance music from Congo-Kinshasha and Congo-Brazzaville. A style of house music that emerged out of South Africa, Amapiano — which in isiZulu and isiXhosa translates to “the pianos” — is a combination of deep house, jazz, R&B, and lounge music.
Locally pronounced in Nigeria as “uhl-teh,” Alté is taken from the word “alternative” and describes how these artists excel in rebelling against mainstream categorization.