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DANCEHALL MUSIC TAKING ROOTS IN AFRICA!

BY BASIL WALTERS—

 Top: Ledo
Bottom: Shauna Fung Yee —

 

THE rise of African reggae/dancehall artists is a perfect example of the maxim that music is universal.

Africa is home to a multitude of artists who fuse Afro-beat, rhythm and blues, reggae, and dancehall.

One of them is singer Ledo, who recently spoke about the passion for dancehall music in her native Nigeria.

“Dancehall brings out the fire in me. R&B is beautiful, it touches the heart, but the real me is dancehall. Dancehall music is about energy. If you do dancehall you must have the fire in you,” she said. “I officially made dancehall my career, and that has been the best decision ever, even though I still fuse a little R&B in my dancehall songs to make it interesting and versatile”.

Other Nigerian dancehall fusion artists are YemiAlade, Cynthia Morgan, Tiwa Savage, Fefe and Seyi Shay. The most popular crossover artists are Patoranking and Burna Boy.

Patoranking, who is known for songs like My Woman (with Busy Signal), is signed to VP Records. He is scheduled to perform at Reggae Sumfest next week.

Another dancehall artist from the region making waves is Shatta Wale from Ghana, who has collaborated with Jah Vinci, Alkaline and Mavado. He was featured on the popular Overproof rhythm, produced by Patrick “Roach” Samuels.

Patoranking

Patoranking

 Shauna Fung Yee, director of Down 2 Earth Productions, works with several artists. She commented on why they are not well known in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

“They will have to do an aggressive marketing campaign to help develop their brand in Jamaica and the Caribbean; also singing in their native language is a barrier,” she said.

Afrobeat was popularized during the 1970s by acts like Fela Kuti, the flamboyant Nigerian singer/musician. He influenced other performers like Yousou N’Dour, Sunny Ade, MajekFashek and Baaba Maal.

They have either worked in Jamaica or with Jamaican artists.

On the flip side, Jamaican artists have been making a mark in Africa for over 40 years, the most noted being Bob Marley, who famously performed in Zimbabwe in 1980 to mark its independence.

Dancehall has taken hold in Africa in the last 15 years. The genre’s major acts have performed throughout the continent.

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