Grammy Awards; How Africans Have Overcome Foundational Obstacles and Winning Through the Years. [PT2]

Best Contemporary World Music Album – 2008
Originally from Benin and now living in France, Angélique Kidjo holds the title has Africa’s most decorated GRAMMY winner in history. 2008 saw the first of her five trophies with a Best Contemporary World Music Album for Djin Djin and increased to three more Best World Music Album wins, adding the Best Global Music Album award for Mother Nature to the list. She has featured collaborations with Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi and other Afrobeats acts.

On the run from Benin for Paris in 1983, she signed with Island Records and rising internationally in the early ‘90s on dance-pop hits such as “Batonga” and “Agolo.” Her album Fifa (1996) saw her return to her home country, Republic of Benin.

The Kidjo name resonates across the musical world, as she has worked on projects with Carlos Santana, Ziggy Marley to Tony Allen, Gilberto Gil, and members of Vampire Weekend.

REDONE (Morocco)
Best Dance/Electronic Album – 2010
Native of Tétouan in northern Morocco, Nadir Khayat relocated to Sweden to pursue a career in pop music at age 19 – a decision influenced by the likes of Swedish music group, ABBA and European continent. Taking up production route on the alias RedOne, he experienced limited success with artists like the A*Teens until he moved on to Jersey City in 2007 and met a budding artist, Lady Gaga who would reroute his career and win him his GRAMMYs.

Khayat would produce six tracks on Gaga’s debut album The Fame. For proper context, tou will hear her introduce his name at the beginning of the song, JUST DANCE. The blasting sounds of “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “LoveGame,” and mega hits like “Bad Romance” and “Alejandro” would own the charts, and the GRAMMYs. At the 2010 GRAMMYs, The FAME won the following categories: Best Dance/Electronic Album and “Poker Face” won Best Dance Recording; 2011, FAME MONSTER earned Best Pop Vocal Album.

TINARIWEN (Mali/Algeria/Libya)
Best World Music Album – 2012
In 1994 when Ali Farka Touré earned his final, posthumous GRAMMY, the following year, desert blues genre band Tinariwen won their first: Best World Music Album for their LP Tassili.

As Tinariwen’s group members hail from the nomadic Tuareg people of the Sahara regions, the band’s music-making activities have been affected by rebellions against North African governments of the day, occasioned some group members even joining the fight. Laced up with deep and thoughtful lyrics about the Tuareg people and their struggle for self-determination, Tinariwen’s songs sold well across North Africa.

BURNA BOY (Nigeria)
Best Global Music Album – 2021
Burna Boy is the first Nigerian male artist to win a golden gramophone for an original body of work. The Afrobeats giant earned the top spot for Best World Music Album in 2021 for his album TWICE AS TALL.

Femi Kuti, King Sunny Adé, Babatunde Olatunji, and his rival WizKid race ahead of the African Giant proponent on the GRAMMY nods but none has a sole winning record as Burna Boy.

BLACK COFFEE (South Africa)
Best Dance/Electronic Album – 2022
Black Coffee’s album project SUBCONSCIOUSLY won Best Dance/Electronic Album at the the 2022 GRAMMYs making him the first African to win the category for an original project. The DJ/producer’s victory confirms a shift in ideaologies of what African music brings to the global table ranging from traditional genres and folk music to the high-tech world of electronic dance music.

He contributed to developing Afro house, blending the world music with influences from kwaito, mbaqanga, and other South African genres and sounds.