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Sudanese-American artist who blends traditional Arabic, East African, and 1970s African popular music in what she calls "East African retro pop."

More info at her Official Web Site


The late Chiwoniso Maraire was a Zimbabwean singer and one of the few women to play the mbira.

More info at her record label's biography page and her Wikipedia page.

Maryam Mursal

Sang for Somalia's national band in the post-independence era, now residing in Denmark.

More info at her Real World Records page and her Wikipedia page.

Miriam Makeba

Known as "Mama Africa," Miriam Makeba was a world-renown singer and anti-Apartheid and Civil Rights activist from South Africa.

Makeba is one of Africa's most famous vocalists, so information on her is abundant. Her Wikipedia page and Official Web Site can get you started.

The Nile Project

A collective of musicians from African countries in the Nile basin who come together to emphasize cultural commonalities across national borders and raise awareness of environmental and policy issues surrounding the Nile River.

More info at their Official Web Site and Facebook page.

Poetic Pilgrimage

Afro-Caribbean, socially-activist Muslim hip-hop duo based in the United Kingdom.

You can check out their Official Facebook, their Twitter, and their documentary film feature on Al Jazeera, Hip-Hop Hijabis

Salif Keita

Malian singer known as "The Golden Voice of Africa."

Check out his Official Site, Official YouTube channel, and Wikipedia page.

Sami Yusuf

London-based, Iranian-born singer/songwriter of Azeri heritage who specializes in Islamic popular music. Also involved in humanitarian work and is currently the UN Global Ambassador for the World Food Programme.

Find more at his Official Site and his Facebook page.

Sauti Sol

One of Kenya's most popular bands right now, Sauti Sol has received multiple awards and international acclaim.

Check out their Official Site.

Umm Kulthum

Perhaps Egypt's most famous vocalist, Umm Kulthum is still beloved across the Arab world decades after her death in 1975.

Virginia Danielson's 1997 biography, The Voice of Egypt, is the most comprehensive source of her life and music. Abundant information can also be found online. Her Encyclopaedia Britannica entry and documentary film, A Voice Like Egypt (streaming free on YouTube), can also get you started.

Documentary Films

Asni: The Life of Asnaketch Worku - Courage, Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia

Biographical documentary on Ethiopian actress, singer, and krar player from the mid-20th century.

IMBD page

Stream on Kanopy.

Netflix's Explained: K-Pop

Brief 20 minute documentary from Netflix's Explained web series. Available streaming on Netflix.

Finding Fela

Biographical documentary about Fela Kuti, Nigeria's iconic Afrobeat innovator.

Official Web Site (with streaming options)

Under African Skies

Explores the making and consequences of Paul Simon's Graceland, featuring South African activists and musicians (including Miriam Makeba and Ladysmith Black Mambazo).

IMDB page

Stream on Snag Films


Afropop Worldwide

A series of radio programs and online articles with excellent, in-depth information on music in Africa and in the diaspora.

Awesome Tapes from Africa

A crowd-sourced web page where people upload old tapes and records from (drumroll please!) Africa (in case you couldn't guess from the title.)

YouTube Playlists

Music of Africa

Music of the Arab World

Music of East Asia

Music of India

Music of Indonesia

Muslim Music

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