Four African bands that made an impact

African music is extensive and diverse. It’s a mix of African traditional music with contemporary African music. Modern African music, or Afropop, is significantly impacted by western music. There are many conventional dominant sounds like jazz, afrobeat, blues, and rumba, that you can hear when listening to African musicians.

African music is maybe not popular all over the world, but many African sounds sailed across to the US. Enslaved Africans carried their unique sounds with them, and you can hear traces of it in today’s well-liked rhythm and blues sounds.

Most Famous bands from Africa


A band from Pretoria, Gauteng in South Africa, previously known as Saron Gas, was formed in 1999. They continued their commercial career in the US in 2002. 

They instantly became famous with their hit song ‘Fine Again’ and continued to conquer the North American market in the years to come. They released seven studios albums with the eighth album coming up in 2020.

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The band draws influences from Nirvana and Alice in Chains, with their sound being more focused on rock. They won a few MTV Africa Music Awards in the past and continued to top Billboard Charts in the 2010s.


This Afro-fusion band originated in Cape Town in 2002. The band has a lot of musical influences since the band’s members are from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. You can hear different beats of traditional South African music, blues, and jazz in their songs.

They gained world recognition with their collaboration with Shakira on the song ‘Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)’. They performed the song at the FIFA Kickoff concert and performed in the music video for the same song. 

You have also probably heard of the song ‘Doo Be Doo,’ which is the biggest hit from their first album ‘Jika Jika’. The song gained international recognition. They released their last album in 2013.

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Amadou & Mariam

This musical duo comes from Mali in West Africa. They have been performing together since 1974 and have also been married since 1980. They are known as ‘the blind couple from Mali’ because both of them lost their vision while young. 

Their unique sound comes from the traditional Mali music mixed with blues, rock guitars, violins, and other instruments. Because of this, their music style has been called ‘Afro-blues.’ They have played at a lot of festivals around the world and released their last album three years ago. Amadou and Mariam received a Grammy nomination in 2008.

Die Antwoord

Die Antwoord, or ‘the answer’ in Afrikaans, is an extremely popular South African band. They formed the band in 2008 in Cape Town. Their members include the lead couple, a rapper and a singer, and two DJs. 

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They gained national recognition with a captivating sound on their debut album ‘$O$.’ They came up with a unique name for their sound, ‘zef.’ Zef represents a modern and trashy style of music with gothic and explicit videos and performances. Their newest album is going to be released in 2020.