The African continent is home to some of the most influential music in the world. Its roots span thousands of years, with many countries and regions contributing to African music.

These songs have been played by kings, queens, and citizens alike. The United Nations even named it ‘the twelfth richest cultural heritage of humanity in 2015 – not forgetting its contribution to the development of Soul and blues in America’s vast music industry.

Our list includes the greatest African music legends in history, from different regions across the continent, who have shaped and influenced music in Africa, while building a legacy that spans over centuries.

1. Fela Kuti

Elevated to the halls of legends, Fela Kuti’s music brought together a community and united them under the banner of music. There have been many artists who have gained a lot of success in the music industry, but none have possibly matched Fela Kuti’s legacy.

This man is definitely one of the greatest African music legends in history. His life was full of many challenges yet this man always believed in himself and did everything he could do to represent and promote his people.

Fela created a genre of his own; “Afrobeat”, which was appreciated by many. Fela took the best from countries all over Africa and created an incredible, melody-driven style.

The influence of his music cannot be described in words because it is beyond these boundaries. This man is undoubtedly one of the greatest African music legends in history; he is one of the greatest musicians to ever live.

2. Miriam Makeba

An icon in our culture and history, Miriam Makeba was a pillar of support for African music. This woman was a pioneer in the music industry, and she is undeniably one of the greatest African music legends in history. She had an incredible career as a singer, songwriter, and performer.

She was part of the iconic “Ngoma” band, who was also highly influential in bringing Afrobeat to the world stage.Miriam’s songs were full of meaning, with a positive message and incredible sound. She was one of the few African artists who were popular in the west, and she also used her position to campaign for peace and justice. She was respected by many and has a massive following to this day.

Her inspiration helped many young artists take their music to global audiences because if it wasn’t for her, many Afrobeat musicians would be left behind today.

3. Salif Keita

Salif Keita is perhaps one of the most influential musicians in Africa, and this is why he deserves a spot on this list. He is a Malian musician who has recorded some amazing songs, and he has an impressive discography under his belt. His music is influenced by many African genres such as Wassoulou, Songhai blues, and Bambara music which is all part of his traditional heritage.

Salif has been recognized as one of the greatest African music legends in history and he is a leading figure in the Malian music industry.

He has worked with many other artists, and his skills are appreciated, because of the great knowledge he holds. The following year, 2019, he will release a new album and perform live shows worldwide. The songs on this album are inspired by his traditional upbringing and different cultures all over Africa. He is a man who has worked hard to earn his place on this list, and he deserves it.

4. Youssou N’dour

This Senegalese musician was one of the few African artists who gained worldwide recognition. He started his career at a young age, turning in performances with other musicians such as John Lee Hooker, Daryl Hall, and the Blues band.

He had a great love for music and joined the Senegalese National Orchestra when he was eighteen years old.Youssou has had an incredible career and he has been featured on the soundtrack of many movies.

He has tried his hand at many different projects, yet nothing seemed to work out for him. But his determination got him through and he is now one of the greatest African music legends in history. This man’s music is very interesting and is also very inspirational. The combination of traditional Senegalese rhythms with modern sounds makes his sound unique and diverse, which makes it special.

5. Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo is a Beninese singer and songwriter who has become one of the best artists in Africa. She is a model of diversity and her music has elements of traditional and modern African music.

With an incredible voice, this woman is a force to be reckoned with in the industry and she has gained recognition from all over the world.Her songs are filled with meaning and her music is full of soul. She wrote her own songs, yet she has collaborated with other musicians since she was young.

This woman’s ability to blend different genres together makes her one of the greatest African music legends in history. Her songs are, relatively, easy to listen to and this is why her music is so inspirational.

6. Lucky Dube

Lucky Dube is a South African musician and songwriter who was born in Johannesburg. He started his career with other musicians before he decided to go solo. This man has worked with other artists and singers and has also written songs for them. His music blends well with many different genres; his songs are very catchy, yet they also feature strong messages.Lucky is one of the greatest African music legends in history, due to how he has been able to blend different genres together and create a unique sound.

He has worked with many other artists, but the quality of work only increased after working with others. He is a man who has worked hard to earn his place on this list. He is one of the greatest musicians in Africa, and his music, like most of our greatest African music legends in history, will live on for years to come.

7. Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela is a South African trumpeter and composer who has become one of the greatest African music legends in history. He started his career at a young age when he was still learning to play the trumpet and deliver his music. He has worked with other artists and bands, due to his love for different types of music.Hugh has a unique sound; it is almost impossible to confuse him with someone else. He is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how diverse he is as an artist. With his diverse sound, he has helped inspire other musicians to create their own unique sounds. He is a man who has worked hard to earn his place on this list and his music will continue to be inspired for decades to come.

8. Oliver Mtukudzi

Oliver Mtukudzi is a Zimbabwean musician who was born in the early sixties. He started off as the lead guitarist of The Black Rhythms. This band was not originally supposed to be a band, but it eventually became one of the most popular bands in Zimbabwe. They were able to perform at many events such as Independence Day and the independence of Namibia in 1990.A year later, he began a solo career and released an album that was very successful. This man’s music is loved by many today and he has truly inspired many young musicians through his work. Oliver Mtukudzi is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how well he combines different genres, into something beautiful. His name will live on for years to come and his love for music will inspire future generations. He has worked hard to earn his place on this list and any other list, because of how passionate he is about the industry.

9. King Sunny Ade

King Sunny Ade is a Nigerian musician and songwriter who has become one of the greatest African music legends in history. He started his career at just fourteen years old, and he has played music ever since. The unique sound that he creates blends well with many different genres, and his music is full of soul. He has worked with other artists before, yet none had any major success. This man’s love for music shows through every song that he writes; it is easy to see how much he loves the industry.He wrote for many other artists and wrote hits for them, but it was only after the release of his debut album that things began to change. He was able to perform with artists from different genres and he has truly entertained his fans with his unique style. King Sunny Ade is one of the greatest African music legends in history, due to how diverse he is as an artist. With his diverse sound, he has helped inspire other musicians to create their own unique songs. His music will continue to be inspirational for decades to come and it will never lose its value.

10. Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti is a Nigerian musician and songwriter who has become one of the greatest African music legends in history. He is well-known for his powerful music, which reaches out to many people. With an incredible voice and a style that changed the sound that his father created, he has earned the title; ‘The Prince of African music’.His style is unique and he has been able to make hits with other artists, which is something that not very many artists have been able to do. His strong messages throughout his songs are moving and they truly inspire people. Femi Kuti is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how diverse he is as an artist. With his diverse sound, he has helped inspire other musicians to create their own unique sound. His love for music shows through every song that he writes and it will live on for years to come.

11. Ali Farka Toure

Ali Farka Toure is a Malian music artist who has become one of the greatest African music legends in history. He began his career as an engineer at Radio Mali, which is how he was introduced to music. He performed with his father and his brother, but it was not until he started a solo career that he became more famous. One of the best musicians in Africa today, Ali has been able to touch many people’s hearts with his sound.He performed with many other artists and they created beautiful music together. He has an incredible voice and his songs have been very influential, especially during the political turmoil that was occurring in Mali. Ali Farka Toure is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how unique his sound is. With his unique sound, he has inspired many to create their own sound and to explore different types of music. His name will never fade away and he will continue to be one of the greatest in Africa for years to come.

12. Brenda Fassie

Brenda Fassie is a South African singer-songwriter who has become one of the greatest African music legends in history. She was first spotted by a record label while she was still young, yet she did not see that her talent would be noticed. She recorded her debut album in 1994, which was very successful and it landed her on many charts around the world. In 1998, Brenda Fassie released another hit record which took her career to new heights.She has been able to work with other artists, such as Johnny Clegg and Mafikizolo, and they have been able to create wonderful music together. Brenda Fassie is one of the greatest African music legends in history, due to her unique voice in the industry and her strong messages throughout her songs. Her songs are destined to live on and they will never lose their value. She has worked hard to earn this title, so it will most definitely last for many years to come.

13. Oliver Mtukudzi

Oliver Mtukudzi is a Zimbabwean musician who has become one of the greatest African music legends in history. He began his career as a member of The Black Rhythms, and they were not initially supposed to be a band. It was not until they started performing at events such as Independence Day and the independence of Namibia that they became popular. Oliver has been able to work with many celebrities, such as Sibusiso Nkosi and Ophelia Tshabalala, and he has truly made an impact on the industry. He is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how diverse his sound is. With a unique sound and the ability to work with other artists, he has inspired others to create their own unique sound.His love for music shows through every song that he writes and it will live on for years to come. The impact that Oliver Mtukudzi has had on the industry alone, is enough to earn him a spot on this list. This man is a true legend and his music will live on forever. He will always have a place in pop culture and his legacy will continue to inspire and motivate many new artists as time goes by.

14. Oumou Sangare

Oumou Sangare is a Malian musician and songwriter who has become one of the greatest African music legends in history. She began her career as a young girl and her music took to the world by storm. Her hit album, Mogoya, was released in 1997 and it marked a turning point for her career. She is one of the most popular contemporary African artists today, due to how unique she is as an artist. In the past, she has worked with other artists from different genres, including Angélique Kidjo and Taj Mahal.Oumou Sangare will go down in history as one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how she was able to make an impact on the industry with her beautiful songs. She has helped to change the sound that Africa has been known for, making her one of the most unique artists in the world. Her music will continue to influence listeners around the world and it will never lose its value. Oumou Sangare is an incredible artist who continues to break barriers and who does not need anyone to pave the road for her.

15. Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a South African choir group that has been making beautiful music for years. The group has only had seven members, which is something that is not very common in the industry. This group helped to break racial boundaries and they have truly made a positive impact on the world. Their music will live on for years to come and it will continue to inspire many listeners around the world. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how amazing their voices are. With their beautiful voices, he has inspired others to create their own unique sound and it will live on for years to come.The group was the brainchild of Joseph Shabalala and it has been very influential during its history. He has given other artists a chance to shine, such as Bheki Mseleku and Johnny Clegg. They have created many hits over the years and they have truly had an impact on the world. Their music will never be forgotten because of how powerful it is, that is for sure! Ladysmith Black Mambazo is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of its incredible voices and its ability to create wonderful music together.

16. E. T. Mensah

1x. T. Mensah is a Ghanaian musician whose songs have been loved by many. He has been able to dance and sing at the same time, yet this has not always been the case. In his early career, he was known as E.T., and that was his nickname that people would commonly use when they spoke of him until 2007 when he released his hit album, We Are One. In 2013, E.T. Mensah had another hit album with his record label, 4 Square Records, which was titled Yo! My Name Is E? T? Mensah (I am in the House) and it featured collaborations with many other artists such as Kofi Kinaata among others.He is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of everything that he has done for the industry. He continues to break barriers and he has inspired many musicians with his unique style. He has helped to change the sound that Africa is known for and he continues to pave the way for other artists. He has truly made an impact on the world, which is why he deserves a spot on this list. E. T.? Mensah will always be remembered for his great music and it will continue to motivate viewers around the world for many years to come.

17. Lokua Kanza (The Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Lokua Kanza is a Congolese musician whose music is known for being very diverse in genre. He blends Congolese music, R& B, and other genres together to create beautiful songs that are loved by many. His albums have received a lot of praise and they have broken through boundaries. He is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how he is able to mix genres, while still keeping his own unique sound.He has worked with many different artists, such as Nathalie Similo, Werrason, and others. Lokua Kanza has made an impact on the industry in an incredible way and his music will continue to influence listeners around the world. He continues to break barriers and he has earned a spot on this list. His music will live on for years to come and it will never lose its value. Lokua Kanza is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how diverse his music is and how inspirational it is.

18. Johnny Clegg (South Africa)

Johnny Clegg is a South African musician who has been in the music industry for many years. He has worked with many different artists, such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, with who he collaborated for his song, “Yakhal”. In South Africa, Johnny Clegg is famous for creating the band known as The Machines. He is also well-known for his hit song titled “Asimbonanga” and it helped to spread awareness about Apartheid in South Africa. It was first performed by Peter Gabriel and it was later covered by Johnny Clegg himself.Johnny Clegg is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how he was able to use his music to help change the world. His song, “Asimbonanga”, was originally performed by Peter Gabriel and it helped to spread awareness about Apartheid in South Africa. It reached number 9 on the United Kingdom charts during that time and it truly made an impact on the world. He has worked with many other artists over the years and he will continue to be a great inspiration for those who want to make unique music that changes lives.

19. Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde Islands)

Cesaria Evora is a Cape Verdean musician who has been making beautiful music for many years. She is one of the greatest African music legends in history because of how she has made her own unique sound. Her music will live on for many years to come and it will continue to influence future generations. Her voice is truly unforgettable and it will help to change the world. Many people around the world listen to Cape Verdean music and they still love it so much, which makes her one of the greatest African music legends in history. Her music will continue to influence many people and she will always be remembered for her great voice.Cesaria Evora has worked with other musicians such as the band Quarteto 1111, with who she collaborated on their single titled, “Cuando Baila Otra Vez”. Other musicians that she has worked with include Cesaria Evora and Cesaria Evora y MPBC. Her hit song, “A Felicidade”, was also very popular in Cape Verde but it was first released by Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil, who wrote the original version.

20. Lucius Banda

Lucius Banda is a Malawian musician who has been in the industry for many years. He has worked with many other artists such as Mango Groove and The Black Missionaries but he also released his own solo album in 2003, which was titled Kwacha. It was a very memorable album and it helped to bring attention to Malawi and its music.

Lucius Banda is one of the greatest African music legends because of how he used his voice to spread awareness about Malawi, which many people around the world would not have known about otherwise.He is one of the best artists in Malawi because of how talented he is and his influence on other musicians. He has been able to work with many different artists but he will always be remembered for being able to make his own music that sounded just as good as any other African artist was at the time. Lucius Banda’s journey will continue to inspire others and his music will never lose its value.

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