Centre Stage: African Musical Ensembles
With the steady patronage of Afrobeats and different African musical genres, there’s no better time to be an African Musician than now. The internet has broken most of the entry barriers giving fans direct access to their favourites and helping them find new discoveries just as existing. While solo artistes have been the cornerstone of the African genre, there are a number of groups with direct ties to Africa pushing the agenda. We have identified five of the standout groups we think you should hear more of.
NSG, the sextet based in East London, was created while all the members were studying at Arts & Media School Islington. All except for Mojo. There the in-joke where he is referred to as “the one we found and looked after”.
2019 was phenomenal for NSG. Their songs “OT Bop” and “Options” were at the top of most playlists. They were opening acts for Wizkid at the End’s Festival in London and performed with Future on the main stage at the Wireless festival.
The boys show no signs of slowing down with the release of their new project: “Roots”, which kicks off with reggae-infused “Political Badness”, and features Randy Valentine. Also notable is the track “Lupita” which samples Foxy Brown’s “Get Me Home”.
It is summertime and NSG have loaded up their artillery and set themselves up to own the entire summer with “Roots”.
Stream the “Roots” here:
The Morrocan trio Promesse has officially been working together since 2018 when they released debut single, “Fool”. The band member: Idrissi, Qaayel (pronounced “Kyle”), and Cnebce (Pronunced “Knebs”) are friends with their own solo careers. Promesse has been disruptive in North Africa with their most recent tune, “Cast: Off”.
Idrissi, the producer has been making music for over a decade and has production credits to Qaayel’s 2019 EP “Ceiling Talk” and forthcoming project “Kyle”. Cnebce, alias Samia is a singer and songwriter whose music is a blend of RnB, Pop and acoustic folk.
Listen to Cast: Off below:
The award-winning Kenyan afro-pop band recently released its fifth studio album: “MIDNIGHT TRAIN”. Their discography also includes Afrikan Sauce (2019) which featured Burna Boy and Patoranking, Live and Die in Afrika (2015), Sol Filosofia (2011) and Mwanzo (2008).
Sauti Sol which means “voice in the sun” are currently one of the best African Music group with an impressive resume, they have tons of awards, from MTV’s EMAs to the AFRIMA; toured several African, European and American cites. They even hopped on the TEDtalk stage
Their new 13 track album includes singles like “Suzanna” and “Midnight Train” with verses from rising South African Star Sho Madjozi and the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Stream the album here:
Kenyan based quartet, XPRSO. dropped their debut tape “NarioBass” early 2020. On the cover of the EP, the artistes cautioned listeners to be wary of involuntary head and shoulder dancing. No lies there because the EP definitely puts you in the groove. The group clearly highlights their fondness for bass and dark samples as the preferred tools of their trade.
Listen to the EP here:
DRB Lagidi is made up of three individual artistes BOJ, Teezee, and Fresh L. Known as the architects of the Alte Genre in Nigeria, the triad, whose relationship goes way back to secondary school in England, has been on the scenes for a minute. They released their first Album, “Pioneers” in 2020.
The album, an intense mix of afrobeat and the alte sound, features Santi, Odunsi (The Engine) Tems and others for the project.
Play the album here: