9/12/10

Crowd sourcing the list of the 15 most influential African singers/song writers of all time // Les 15 chanteurs/compositeurs africains les plus influents de tous les temps

If you are currently in the US, you might have come across the VH1 show the 100 greatest artists of all time.
It’s a pretty mediocre list, in my opinion (No offense to Timberlake but he has no business being ahead of Otis Redding or REM). It is also mediocre because it has no artists from continents outside of Europe or North America.
It is symptomatic of the limited exposure that great artists from lesser known places are going trough.
There is a list from 2006 on the Independent of the 50 greatest African artists, emcopassing all type of arts chosen by a selected panel that also left a lot to be desired as far as representation of the whole continent (this might be a byproduct of deep cultural and lingual boundaries between regions).
Making a list for such a large, heterogonous continent is bound to be flawed. But the purpose here is to celebrate and discover artists that do not get to receive the exposure that their western counterparts receive.
Of course, there are shows such as the Eurovision or the VMAs where artists across continent compete to be recognized at the top of the list.

So a few friends on twitter thought that we could try to “crowdsource” a reasonable list of the 15 most influential african artists of all time. The purpose is to recognize the work and impact of great artists from the continent but also discover some that may have been under the radar.
Here is the methodology for crowdsourcing the list:
1) In the comment section, submit a ranking of your top 7 african singers/ song writers. #1 gets 7 points, #2 gets 6 points etc.
2) Criteria to be considered when justifying the selection: national impact, creativity, transregional appeal, timelessness. Providing link to songs highly recommended.
3) One country can only appear once in the selection.
4) The ranking would be dependent on #number of points received. When there is a draw, the artists whose country has received the most points get through.
5) Ranking criteria can be modified for two weeks after 1st submission.
For instance, my list:
1) Cesaria Evoria: Cape Verde
2) Vusi Mahlasela: South-Africa
3) Angelique Kidjo: Bénin
4) Khaled: Algérie
5) Labi Siffre: Nigeria
6) Youssou N’Dour: Sénégal
7) Mahaleo: Madagascar

As you can tell from my list, I am no expert in African music but those artists have shaped my understanding of African music and to some extend African social conscience.

UPDATE: With the nominations that were submitted so far, we have 31 artists ranked from first to last here:
Fela Kuti and Manu Dibango are top 2.
https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AlN54olNeR0zdHRPZkNmWnpqSzA1Tk1YcGd4WUhrMUE&hl=en
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(Français)

La liste des 100 plus grand artistes de tout le temps de VH1 est assez médiocre. De plus, la liste est essentiellement composée d’artistes venant d’amérique du Nord ou d’Europe.
Avec des amis sur twitter, on s’était dit qu’il serait sans doute intéressant
Le but de faire une telle liste serait donc de célébrer les grand artistes du continent africain mais aussi de découvrir des artistes qui gagneraient être plus connus.
Voici la méthodologie pour créer cette liste :
1) Soumettre une liste de 5 artistes en les classant du plus important au moins important
2) Les critères à considérer : impact national, créativité, charisme transrégional et imtemporalité
3) Un seul pays par liste
4) Le nombre total de points décidera du classement final
5) Les critères pour le classement peuvent être modifiés 2 semaines après la 1ére soumission.

78 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This my list. I was wondering if it would be proper or not to create a simple app for this ?

    1 - Franco Luambo Makiadi( DRC )
    2 - Lapiro de Mbanga ( Cameroon )
    3 - Ahmadou Kourouma ( Ivory Coast )
    4 - Camara Laye ( Senegal )
    5 - Bonga Kwenda ( Angola )

    ReplyDelete
  3. South of the Sahara?
    Ali Farka Toure
    Miriam Makeba
    Tabu Ley Rouchereau
    Fela Kuti
    I could go with a million people for number five. Let's say Thomas Mapfuno (because he lives in exile in Eugene, Oregon of all places...).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Franco et TP OK Jazz, Fela Kuti "should" be included (5 is a little bit hard - t top 10 could be easier though)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Maurice Kirya - Uganda
    Fela Kuti of course gets a vote from me!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ali Farka Touré
    Manu Dibango
    Fela
    Maalouma
    Salif Keita

    ReplyDelete
  7. mahaleo
    salif keita
    manu di bango
    myriam makeba
    lucky dube
    khaled

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fela Kuti
    Miriam Makeba
    Franco
    Salif Keita
    Oum Kalsoum

    ReplyDelete
  9. Malaika1:42 PM

    Here's my list:
    1) South Africa: Miriam Makeba
    2) Angola: Bonga
    3) South Africa: Ladysmith Black Mambazo
    4) Sénégal: Ismael Lo
    5) Algérie: Idir
    6) Gabon: Oliver N'Goma
    7) Côte d'Ivoire: Alpha Blondy
    And yes, SA comes twice, because it's a huge country & they worth it :P"

    ReplyDelete
  10. Here is my list :

    1/ Manu Dibango, Cameroon
    2/ Tshala Muana, DR Congo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18PA7BfWINE)
    3/ Angélique Kidjo, Bénin
    4/ Cesaria Evora, Cape Verde
    5/ Khaled, Algérie
    6/ Meiway, Côte d'Ivoire (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obu2GnhrUgI)
    7/ Salif Keita, Mali

    ReplyDelete
  11. Bonjour

    "Most Influential artists" does not mean "best artists" nor "preferred ones ". ;0)

    So I will post three lists, only one should be taken account to.

    My "Most Influential african musicians" list:

    #1 Fela (Nigeria)
    #2 Manu Dibango (Cameroon)
    #3 Franco (Congo)
    #4 Ali Farka Toure (Mali)
    #5 Youssou N'dour (Senegal)
    #6 Myriam Makeba (South Africa)
    #7 Khaled (Algeria)

    My preferred african artists list :

    #1 Pierre Akendengue (Gabon)
    #2 Tarika (Madagascar)
    #3 Fela (Nigeria)
    #4 King Sunny Ade (Nigeria)
    #5 Feogasy (Madagascar)
    #6 Manu Dibango (Cameroon)
    #7 Staff Benda Bilili (Congo)

    Madagascar and Nigeria are nominated twice, but this is my list ;0).

    There are so many magnificent african musicians, a short list is not enough (try So Kalmery, Jaojoby, the Mahotella Queens, Baaba Maal, Rajery,Bonga, etc.).

    Thanks for your initiative.

    Veloma

    Jocelyn
    www.Madagascar-musiques.net


    There is no "Best african artists" list as I do not take any of those above named as better than the other.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you all for the weighing in. As Archippe said, there should be an app for this but I would not know how to do that :).
    I compiled the list so far on spreadsheet: we have 31 artists and Fela Kuti is leading with Manu Dibango just behind.
    https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AlN54olNeR0zdHRPZkNmWnpqSzA1Tk1YcGd4WUhrMUE&hl=en&output=html

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hmm, Lova - I'd say Miriam Makeba, Angelique Kidjo, Nass El Ghiwane, Youssou Ndour, and Cheb Mami were amongst the first African musicians I got to know, but it's hard to say who's "the best." :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. My list
    1. Miriam Makeba (Ya, Mama Africa)
    2. Fela Kuti
    3. Angelique Kidjo
    4. Franco (TP OK Jazz - very influential in the 70's, 80's)
    5. Ali Farka Toure and Lokua Kanza are almost tired for me...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Loving this, Lova, though it's so hard to determine the "most influential." Among my current favorites (in alphabetical order, to be diplomatic) are Amadou & Mariam, Esau Mwamwaya, Rokia Traoré, Tinariwen and Souad Massi. Looking forward to checking out Angelique Kidjo, since I seem to be the only one who isn't yet a fan.

    ReplyDelete
  16. (Ack: almost alphabetical order. So close!)

    ReplyDelete
  17. 1. Lucky Dube -South Africa
    2. Angelique Kidjo -Benin
    3. Maurice Kirya- Uganda
    4. Tshila - Uganda
    5. Pepe Kale -DRC
    6. Geoffrey Oryema -Uganda

    ReplyDelete
  18. these come to mind quickly:
    Youssou N'Dour
    Miriam Makeba
    Lucky Dube
    Salif Keita
    for newcomer: Asa - Nigeria

    ReplyDelete
  19. franco
    Mulatu Astatqe
    Miriam Makeba
    Hugh Masekela
    Salif Keita
    Oumou Sangare
    Cheb Hasni
    Alpha Blondy
    Fela Kuti
    Hamza El Din
    Manu Dibango
    Oum Kalsoum
    Pepe Kele
    Ali Farka Toure
    in a different kind of way, Konono No. 1
    Ali Farka Toure
    Yousou N'Dour
    Papa Wemba
    Angelique Kidjo

    ReplyDelete
  20. Koronya Mwambia4:19 PM

    Everyone one knows Franco Luambo Makiadi IS and will probably forever be The African musician.
    Fela , Manu, Youssou etc only have had the advantage of being known in norte America and being recent. In terms of influence, output, longevity and penetration into the common masses - the places where only local outfits get heard Franco & OK have several laps on those above. From his band there emerged tens of succesful musicians who had influence well beyond Congo and some like Madilu and Sam Mangwana their music is truly international. I'll bet Franco is still listened to today than Yossou N'dour will ever be.

    As for your list...MEH

    1.Franco Luambo Makiadi
    2. Salif Keita
    3,4,5... Kidjo, Dube, Ali Farka Toure , Dibango etc who cares.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for weighing in and giving a compelling account of Franco's importance, Koronya (reluctantly and all..)

    ReplyDelete
  22. koronya Mwambia2:34 PM

    Franco, Luambo Makiadi, Franco et L'OK, Franco & TPOK Jazz is the same person.

    Apologies for my -ve attitude. This is a very important exercise and everyone has their tastes.

    ReplyDelete
  23. muthee7:44 AM

    1.Franco, as Koronya puts even the kid who doesnt give a hoot about african music knows franco and yes everybody else dwindles in comparison.
    2.Mbaraka Mwinshehe of Tanzania.
    3.Les Wanyika, Kenya/Tanzania
    4.Fela Kuti, Nigeria

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous8:11 AM

    1. Dimi Mint Abba (Mauritanie)
    2. Franco (DR Congo)
    3. Omar Pene (Senegal)
    4. Bi Kidude (Tanzania)
    5. Bonga (Angola)
    6. Issa Juma (Kenya)
    7. Oum Kalthoum (Egypt)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thanks a lot everyone for the input. I will update the rankings accordingly.

    ReplyDelete
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  78. my abstract top :

    1- Vahömbey (Madagascar)
    2- Ali Farka Touré (Mali)
    3- Fela Kuti (Nigeria)
    4- Tarika (Madagascar)
    5- BLK JKS (South Africa)

    ReplyDelete