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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

Carlos Vives

A Colombian singer and songwriter, he has sung in a variety of genres, from cumbia to Latin pop. He has won many awards at both the Grammy Awards in the United States and the Latin Grammy Awards.

Check out his Official Website

Celia Cruz

Dubbed the "Queen of Salsa," Cuban-born singer Celia Cruz was one of the most popular Latin artists in the 20th century.

For more information, check out her Official 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.

Kayhan Kalhor

A virtuosic kamancheh player, Kayhan Kalhor is considered to be a master of classical Kurdish and Iranian music, and is a member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project ensemble.

Check out his Official Site, his Wikipedia Page, or the Silk Road Project's Official Site.

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.

Mdou Moctar

Mdou Moctar is a well-known Tuareg guitar artist in Northwest Africa, his mixture of Afro, Arabian, and westernized influence makes him the perfect lens in which to view the globalization of music.

Check out his Facebook page.

You can also check out his Artist 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.


A South-African singer, songwriter, novelist and actor, Nakhane broke away from a conservative Christian group and proudly talks and sings about his identity as a gay man. He was named to the New York Times’ 10 Artists to Watch in 2019 list.

Check out his Official Site.

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.

Youssou N'Dour

One of Senegal's most famous musicians, from a family of griots and highly influential in shaping the mbalax genre, which fuses Wolof sabar drumming with international music styles.

Youssou N'Dour has a lot on the web due to his popularity, but his Official website (in French), Wikipedia entry, and YouTube channel can 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)

The Resurrection fo Victor Jara

Follows the legacy and continued relevance of Chilean musician and political activist, Victor Jara.

IMBD page

Searching for Sugar Man

Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man is a music documentary about the mystery of Rodriguez, a Detroit-based folk-soul singer-songwriter who couldn’t crack many radio playlists back in the 1970s, but inexplicably became a hero to anti-apartheid activists in South Africa — even though he’d never toured there. Bendjelloul collects the fan rumors about who Rodriguez was and what happened to him, and then he and his collaborators go looking for the truth.

IMBD page

Listed on

Available streaming on Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube

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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