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Classic African music

This article is over 18 years, 9 months old
Socialist Worker rounds up five classic albums from all corners of Africa
Issue 1958
Cesaria Evora
Cesaria Evora


With unparalleled vocal skills and musical imagination, Khaled was the man who took Algerian rai music into the mainstream.

Youssou N’Dour

Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour put together this eulogy to the resilience of Africans living abroad.

It is a thrilling collection of high octane dance tunes, sung in a voice lying somewhere between a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer and Otis Redding.

Cesaria Evora
Miss Perfumado

Cesaria Evora was already in her 50s when she first gained worldwide acclaim with this album.

It takes the traditional “morna” ballads — slow, wistful songs of longing and separation — from Cape Verde to a new level.

Salif Keita

This album introduced one of Mali’s greatest voices to the wider world and still sounds as dynamic as it did almost two decades ago.

Oliver Mtukudzi
Tuku Music

Oliver Mtukdzi has been a top figure in Zimbabwean music for a decade, but he’s not yet made it huge on the world stage — quite why is a mystery.

This artist defines African soul with his trademark swirl of acoustic and electric guitar rhythms, all overlaid with a gospel like female chorus.


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