While there are hundreds of thousands of musicians that bring their own flavor to African music, here’s a handful of women who do it better than most – check out the best African female musicians.
Rokia Traore actually began singing with a rap group in France and was eventually discovered while performing on the French festival circuit. After working with Ali Farka Touré for some time, she began releasing her own albums that have all done enormously well across Mali and the rest of Africa. She is known for her distinctive voice and incredible live performances.
Asa’s beautiful voice brings new life to mellow and soulful songs, but still has audiences on their feet and dancing during live shows. She is known for the ability to sing along to a full band as well as an acoustic guitar; her singer-songwriter status, and has been bringing her own brand of creative music since her debut in 2007.
Known as the “Whitney Houston of Africa,” Juliana’s powerful voice has earned her popularity across the continent. Her voice has been described as magical. It can bring a special kind of life and energy to songs and has earned her a devoted following and much professional success.
Though her career began as a model, Wahu entered the music biz in 2000 and achieved her first major hit by 2005. She is the recipient of the MTV Africa Music Award for Best Female Musician in 2008, among other accolades, and has gained an audience across the continent. She’s actually also married to Nameless, another award-winning Kenyan musician – talk about a musical dynasty!
Pop artist Amani (born Cecilia Wairimu) is another MTV Africa Music Awards Best Female Singer, this time in 2009, and is well loved nationally and internationally. She has collaborated with international stars such as R. Kelly, has toured the world, and has an enormous fan base everywhere she performs.
Sasha has been called the “First Lady” of Nigerian hip hop, largely due to her first album by the same name, but she’s had a dedicated fan base since her debut nearly a decade ago. She is the recipient of multiple awards, has enjoyed several smash-hit singles, and has even begun her own clothing line!
Nicknamed Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba is a Grammy Award winner, civil rights activist, and well-loved singer in South Africa and across the world. She is credited with bringing African music to the rest of the world as early as the 1960s and was enormously prolific. Somehow, she also managed to be an outspoken critic of apartheid and other civil rights abuses throughout her life before she died in 2008.
Ghanaian singer Becca is one of the forefront rhythm and blues singers in the country and across Africa. She got her start in a singing competition, but it catapulted her into her professional career. She has several singles that are well loved and many fans are expecting more!
Singer-songwriter and poet Zahara is known for conquering the Afrosoul genre, singing both in English and Xhosa. She has been enormously popular since launching her debut album (the first release actually sold out in a matter of days!), and is the recipient of numerous awards. She even has a DVD about her life, as well as an album dedicated to Nelson Mandela and his contributions to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Last but not least, Suzanna Lubrano is an incredible rhythm and blues zouk singer from Cape Verde and the recipient of multiple international awards. She moved to Rotterdam at a young age and popularized her style of music in the Netherlands, as well as cultivating an audience back home. Her albums have sold enormously well and her fans live in every corner of the globe.
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