The Grammy Award is the most prestigious award in world music. It is awarded to the best singers in the world in different categories and over the years, some Africans have been awarded the prize for their contributions to music.
Here are the nine Africans who have won the Grammy Awards.
1. Ali Farka Touré – 3 Grammys
The self-taught Malian guitarist and songwriter won his first Grammy in 1995 in the ‘Best World Music Album’ category for his album ‘Talking Timbuktu’.
His second Grammy came in 2006 in the ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’ for his album ‘In the Heart of the Moon’
The late musician cumulated his Grammy wins in 2011 with an award in the ‘Best Traditional World Music Album ‘for his album ‘Ali and Toumani’
2. Owuor Arunga – 3 Grammys
This Coke Studio artiste rose to fame in Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ‘Thrift Shop’ for his trumpeting skills which were utilised in many parts of the group’s 2014 album ‘The Heist’.
‘Thrift Shop’ carried a Grammy for ‘Best Rap Song’ and ‘Best Rap Performance’ while ‘The Heist’ carried the day for ‘Best Rap Album’.
3. Angélique Kidjo – 3 Grammys
Known for her versatile music, the Beninese vocal-powerhouse is fluent in Fon, French, Yorùbá and English languages which she utilises in her songs. But despite being fluent in 4 languages, she does not stop there as she provides something for her East African fans with ‘Malaika’ which is sung in Kiswahili.
The New-York based singer has won a Grammy for ‘Best Contemporary World Album’ thanks to ’Djin Djin’, an award for ‘Best World Music Album’ in 2015 for ‘Eve’ and in 2016, ‘Best World Music Album’ for ‘Sings.’
Also Read:Here are all the winners of the 2017 Grammy Awards
4. Ladysmith Black Mambazo- 5 Grammys
The all-male South African acappella singing group won their first Grammy in 1988 in the ‘Best Traditional Folk Recording’ category for Shaka Zulu.
Their second Grammy came 16 years later in 2004 for the ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’ category, a win that was earned by their ‘Raise Your Spirit Higher’ album.
In 2009 their album ‘Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu’ won them a Grammy Award and in 2013 they gained another Grammy in ‘Best World Music Album’ category for ‘Live: Singing for Peace around the World.’ In 2017, they also won another Grammy Award
5. Soweto Gospel Choir – 3 Grammys
The South African music group has been described by the American entertainment media brand Billboard as “absolutely thrilling singers” with “dazzling music”
Known for their spirit-rousing voices, their albums ‘Blessed’ and ‘African Spirit’ won the Grammy Award for ‘Best Traditional World’ Music Album in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
2 years later, their collaboration with composer Christopher Tin’s for a song called “Baba Yetu”, won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).
6. Tinariwen – 1 Grammy
The Toureg people live in the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali and their male members are known as the ‘blue men of the Sahara’. A name that was derived from the blue hue left on their faces after their indigo-dyed cotton head wraps called tagelmust rub against their faces.
From this tribe of ‘blue men of the Sahara’ comes a music group called Tinariwen.
Formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset in Algeria, the group won their first Grammy in 2012 in the ‘Best World Music Album’ category for their album Tassili.
7. Youssou Ndour – 1 Grammy
The Senegalese superstar served as a ‘Minister of Tourism’ for the West Africa Country from April 2012 to September 2013.
His first Grammy had come 7 years before his monumental appointment when he bagged the best contemporary world music album for his album ‘Egypt’ in 2005.
8. Wouter Kellerman – 1 Grammy
The South African flautist received a Grammy Award at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for the album ‘Winds of Samsara’.
An award he won alongside Indo-American composer and music producer Ricky Kej for their work on ‘Winds of Samsara ‘.
9. Kevin Olusola – 1 Grammy
Kevin Olusola is known as the beat boxer of the Acapella band Pentatonix who rose to fame through their awesome renditions of classic and spanking new hits.
The Yale alumnus made Nigerians swell with pride when he won an award with his wildly-popular band, Pentatonix, in the ‘Arrangement, Instrumental or Acappella’ category for their assortment of Daft Punk’s most notable songs including ‘Stronger’ with Kanye West and ‘Get Lucky’ with Pharell.