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dbanj_fights_poverty
D’Banj is a singer and peace activist who is featured first on #Music4Dev initiated in 2014 where artists use World Bank to share their music. It’s here where artists talk about poverty and encourage their listeners to work together in ending the crisis. One crucial way to help those in need is to spread awareness about the issue, especially to the youth of the world.

Afrobeat music is believed to have been born out of challenges facing Africa in recent years. Other African genres originate from various nations. These styles include rhumba, makossa, kwaito and highlife. Nigeria’s Afrobeat (or Naija beats) was introduced in the late ’60s by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. With different styles originating from various parts of Africa, this genre escalated only recently with a few artists excelling in the industry.

BBC Radio 1Xtra, the Mobos, MTV Awards and numerous African gatherings have acknowledged the latest African music. Modern techniques have also enhanced the life of video and music quality. Artists and telecom companies are making a large profit while the entertainment industry becomes lucrative.

A common production method includes selling music via mobile phone where customers buy ringtones and dial tones. Much like the Western world, another method to promote the artist is to play popular songs constantly over the radio and on television through video. Artists also appear at concert halls to sell their work.

The youth of Africa are believed to represent the future as a digitally-connected generation. Music unites them for a cause. D’Banj uses music to create poverty awareness and rally Africa’s youth to take a stance against the issue.

He is known for his energetic performances and originality having made the UK’s top ten list as the first Afrobeats artist. He was born in Zaria, Nigeria. He taught himself to play his older brother’s harmonica and has been in love with music ever since.

He has succeeded in making himself heard with 1 million Twitter followers. Kanye West, Akon, Snoop Dogg, Big Sean and actor Idris Elba have acknowledged his likability and recorded with him.

Among this recognition, he has also received Best African Act at MTV Europe Music Awards in 2007 and Artist of the Year in 2009 at MTV Africa Music Awards and BET Awards. In 2013, he attended African Union Year of Agriculture and brought together three million people to form advocacy for the alleviation of poverty.

He implored his followers to address their governments and stressed that more needed to be done for agriculture and small farms. He received two million signatures for the Do Agric Global Africa Campaign.

In 2014, he started focusing on African Union Year of Women’s Empowerment. He wrote a song called ‘Extraoridinary” for the cause. As he says in World Bank’s Blog in an article written by Korina Lopez, “Most of the established small-scale farmers that we have are women… You have to look beyond the body to see the extraordinary potential she possesses.”

D’Banj is known for his humanitarian role as an ambassador for One.org. In addition, he is an ambassador for Nigerian Agricultural Entrepreneurs and has been appointed Nigeria’s first UN Youth Ambassador for Peace.

He has recently been nominated for the MTV African Music Awards (MAMA) Evolution award. D’Banj was nominated with several others including 2face, P-Square and Asa. This award is meant to recognize artists revolutionizing African music with an influence around the world. The announcement of the winner takes place on July 18, 2015. Fans will vote for their favorite, and D’Banj has an admirable status for this particular achievement.

Katie Groe

Sources: World Bank Blog, World Bank Blog, TED 1 , TED 2 , Pulse, The Guardian
Photo: NET

5_African_Musicians_to_Rock_Out_to_P_Square
It is important to realize that music is much more than entertainment.  Music says something about our heritage, our culture, and the kinds of people we strive to be.  Also important to note, music exists with a wide variation throughout the world.  Sure, the British invasion was one great example America witnessed. But let’s take a look at some contemporary acts you may not be familiar with.  In the spirit of representing the diversity of cultures and heritages that meet in Africa, here are five notable African musicians that you should be adding to your iPod.

1. P-Square

If you are in the mood for some R&B, check out Nigerian duo P-Square.  Peter and Paul Okoye are identical twins, hence the name P-Square.  With six albums (including a greatest hits compilation), and a record deal with famous Senegalese-American rapper/singer Akon, P-Square has quite the resume.

2. Koffi Olomide

Hailing from the Congo, Olomide is known for combining traditionally Latin grooves with African dance music.  In particular, Olomide’s style is considered to be soukous, which has its roots in rumba.  His lyricism and vocals have been highly praised by music critics across the globe.

3. D’banj

D’banj’s blend of Afro-Beats with electronic music caught the eye of hip-hop virtuoso Kanye West.  In 2011, D’banj signed with West’s GOODMusic label.  He is also well known for his humanitarian efforts as Nigeria’s Youth Ambassador for Peace to the United Nations.

4. Jose Chameleone

Jose Chameleone is a Ugandan musician known for mixing folk music with reggae and Latin influences.  Singing in English, Swahili, and Luganda (the major language of Uganda), Chameleone shows how he can “blend in” with multiple cultures.

5. Yvonne Chaka Chaka

A South African singer of the Mbaqanga genre, Chaka Chaka is both a musician and a scholar who teaches literature at the University of South Africa.  Mbaqanga is a style sometimes considered to be like jazz, but has roots in traditional Zulu music.  Chaka Chaka has been active in the South African music scene since 1985, and has a tremendous catalog.

Taylor Diamond

Sources: All Africa, The African Economist
Photo: LifeStyle