Top 10 Greatest African Musicians Of All Time

List of the top 10 Greatest African Musicians Of All Time. There are a lot of musical legends in Africa that won’t be forgotten for their massive contributions to the African music industry. These legends are very talented, famous, influential, and have made their mark in the world. 

Of course, it is not too easy to get into the category of the “greatest of all time”. There are many talented musicians in Africa no doubt, doing very well in their own right. Nevertheless, some are indeed legends, and way ahead of many more. A handful of these legends have the reputation of being pioneers of different African music genres. These people have done a lot to ensure that Africa can boast about having its own indigenous sounds. So, from different African countries, speaking different African languages, singing different genres of music, we present to you the top famous African musicians Of All Time

Top 10 Greatest African Musicians Of All Time 

Fela Anikulapo Kuti

  • Fela Kuti

The late Nigerian is popularly known in different parts of the world for different reasons. Fela is reputed for his high octane displays, and interestingly, years after his death, his music is still the favorite of many people. 

Due to various factors, he is believed to be the greatest African artists to have ever lived and has emerged on the top spot of the list. Fela is pretty talented and good at what he does. He can play various instruments very well, and he is a nice composer. If you are familiar with the music genre known as Afrobeat today, you should know that he was the one that invented it. 

Fela rose to fame in the 70s, and despite that he sings majorly with Yoruba language and pidgin English, he still has a lot of fans in different parts of Africa. Additionally, one of the prominent things that shot his popularity was the fact that prior to his death (he died of HIV), he was a political activist who did all he could to keep the government of the day on its toes. 

Miriam Makeba

  • Miriam Makeba

If you don’t know Miriam Makeba, you then should know Mama Africa. Well, the famous Mama Africa is Miriam Makeba, a South African who cannot be forgotten as far as the continent is concerned. 

Miriam is being referred to as the most famous female artist the continent has produced. Of course, a Grammy Award winner is no small musician. That is what Mama Africa is, she won the Grammy Award during her prime on the stage!

She primarily tackled the socio-political plight of her country people under Apartheid with her music, and she remains one of the greatest of all time as far as African music is concerned. 

Angelique Kidjo

  • Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo is the next on the list, and she remains one of the best the continent has produced as far as music is concerned. Of course, a woman that has won the Grammy Award on two different occasions is not just a musician, but a legend. That is what she is, she is an African music legend, one of the greatest of all time. 

Angelique is from Benin, and apart from singing and writing songs, she is also an activist who tries to be a voice to the voiceless. She is versatile, has the capacity to thrill her fans and supporters. 

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo

This is a band from South Africa that is known for its superb talent in music. Here is a group that has won the Grammy Award during their prime, and amassed tons of fans from various parts of the African continent. They are known for their style of isicathamiya and mbube, and they worked hard to give Africa its own sound too. 

These guys became famous when they worked with Paul Simon to produce Graceland, and since then, they ensured they capitalized on their success to build their career. One impressive thing about them is that they are not just interested in signing and showcasing their vocal skills, but are also keen on showing to the world what South Africa is made of. 

  • Brenda Faisse

Famously known as the Queen of African Pop and from South Africa, this woman has made a name for herself as being one of the greatest musicians of all time that Africa has produced. She was a superb pop singer whose story keeps motivating other upcoming musicians. 

Brenda was born in Langa in Cape Town but left home as a young teenager to follow her passion for music. She has the pop group Brenda & The Big Dudes to thank in her ascension to the category of a celebrity in South Africa. Her songs were embraced in South Africa, pushing her popularity beyond the region, and introducing her to other music lovers from other parts of the world. 

  • Ali Farka Toure

Ali Farka Toure is a pride of Mali, and till date, he remains one of the best talents Mali has produced. When it comes to music, he is quite superb. He sings well, can speak several languages, and good with the guitar. 

Ali sings in a manner where he blends African American jazz with Malian traditional music. His exploits in the music industry are yet to be fully replicated in Mali, and he remains one of the greatest musicians of all times in the continent. 

  • Youssou N dour

Youssou N dour is from Senegal, born in Dakar (the country’s capital). Youssou is a talented singer and composer whose amazing musical skills have fetched tons of fans from different parts of the African continent. 

The Senegalese have the reputation of being one of those that established the famous music style called Mbalax in Wolof. He is pretty good when it comes to blending Mbalex with various languages, and has become a real legend as far as African music is concerned. 

  • King Sunny Ade

Next on the list is King Sunny Ade, from Nigeria. He is a super talented musician who was famously known for his juju brand of music. He belongs to a family of royalty in Ondo State (in the southwestern part of the country), and he is known for moving to various parts of the world with his band to sing and perform. Due to that, he has been able to amass a lot of fans and supporters, and he remains one of the best that has come from the continent. 

King Sunny Ade sings majorly in Yoruba language (one of the major languages being spoken by the Yoruba people, particularly in the southwestern part of the country). His songs are not only entertaining but majorly filled with wisdom and ideas (which is another factor that has increased his fan base and exploits). Many of his songs, though he made them years back, are still relevant till this moment. 

  • Lucky Dube

Next on the list of African musical legends is Lucky Dube from South Africa. Prior to his death, he was able to establish himself as a superb musician, singing the famous reggae type of music. From Johannesburg, he was introduced into the music industry as a youngster and attached himself to a music band. Lucky produced various songs that were widely embraced by various people in different parts of Africa. Though he is late, he remains one of the greatest musicians the continent has produced. 

  • E.T Mensah

We are rounding up the list with Emmanuel Tettey Mensah, the Ghanaian who is well-known for his impressive talents in music. Famously called E.T Mensah, he is popular for his Highlife type of music, and has amassed tons of fans and supporters from different parts of Africa. 

Mensah was prominent in the 50s, alongside his band ‘The Tempos’. He took his band to different African countries during this period and even entertained the then Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah.

In conclusion on the greatest African musicians of all time, these people did a lot for themselves and the African music space. They have made a name for themselves and have won several awards for their efforts. Although there are upcoming musicians doing very well today, we know they will need to work extra hard to get to the level of these ones. 


Tag: Greatest African Musicians In Nigeria