During the 1980s, the West rediscovered the folk music of Africa. Afro-rock started with commercial groups based in the west, such as Osibisa.
The cross-pollination took place in both directions: western popular music adopted elements of African music, while African music adopted elements (particularly the studio techniques) of western music.
During the 1980s, the styles and genres of the various African countries, such as South Africa’s “mbaqanga”, Zimbabwe’s “jit”, Zaire’s “soukous”, Nigeria’s “juju” and Ghana’s “highlife”, had a chance to develop and proliferate around the world.
African music of the 1950s
African music of the 1970s
Afro-pop of the 1980s
During the 1950s, when they experienced rapid urbanization and a relatively booming economy, the two French-speaking colonies of the Congo area (capitals in Brazzaville and Kinshasa) witnessed the birth of an African version of the Cuban rumba played by small American-style orchestras (called “kasongo”, “kirikiri” or “soukous”) with a touch of jazz and of local attitudes: Joseph “Grand Kalle” Kabasselleh’s African Jazz (that counted on vocalist Tabu Ley, guitarist “Docteur” Nico Kasanda, saxophonist Manu Dibango), Jean-Serge Essous’ O.K.Jazz (featuring the young Franco), Orchestre Bella Bella, etc. Each orchestra became famous for one or more “dances” that they invented. So soukous (as Ley dubbed it in 1966) is actually a history of dances, rather than one monolithic genre (Ley’s definition originally applied only to a frenzied version of rumba). A guitarist named Jimmy Elenga introduced “animation”: instructions yelled to the crowd in order to direct their dances. Animation eventually became part of the dance, delivering both the identity of the dance, the (ethnic) identity of the band and a (more or less subtle) sociopolitical message. As dictators seized power in both Congos, musicians emigrated to other African countries, to Europe and to the USA, thus spreading soukous around the world, while in Zaire (Congo Kinshasa) soukous bands were used for Maoist-style propaganda purposes (“l’animation politique”).
A key figure was “Franco” (Francois Luambo Makiadi), the guitarist who in 1958 evolved the O.K.Jazz into the 20-member T.P.O.K.Jazz (including saxohpnist ‘Verkys’ Kiamanguana Mateta) and was largely responsible for the relaxed, sensual, languid version of soukous that became predominant, before the 1967 arrival of guitarist Mose Fan Fan led to a more lively sound. His collaboration with Tabu Ley, Omana Wapi (1976), contained only four lengthy dances. The other star of the TP OK Jazz band, hired by Franco in 1984, was vocalist and composer Jean “Madilu System” Bialu.
Please follow the link Summary of African Popular Music