This past year has been good for new music from the more established names in African music, including new releases from King Sunny Ade, Salif Keita, AfroCubism (with Toumani Diabate, Djelimady Tounakara and Bassekou Kouyate) and many more. But great new artists have emerged, as well, with auspicious recording debuts and first tours of North America and Europe.
Below are five of the best. I've been lucky to have two of these artists perform for my KEXP radio show, Nneka (click to hear the session) and Burkina Electric (click to hear the session), as well as have the producer of a third (Manu Chao of SMOD) stop by, as well. The five artists below show the incredible range of new African music, with African traditions brought together with hip-hop, soul, electronica, blues and rock. The music shows the continuing fruitful conversation between Africa and America, with often startling and original results.