Five African music videos to check out

Here are some music videos from different parts of Africa, selected by music lovers just like yourself...

A scene from Bahati's video for ‘Kuchu Kuchu’.
A scene from Bahati's video for ‘Kuchu Kuchu’.

WEST AFRICA (English)
‘There’s a Fire’ - Bez (Nigeria)

“Girl, it’s written in the stars. You know you are the one…” sings Bez on ‘There’s A Fire.’ It’s a typical line from a man wooing a woman, but what’s not so typical is the chorus: “There’s a fire, you can never kill with water. And the rainbow has no colour but the sunlight,” - poetry with hints of the mystical. When he adds, “You will understand,” you know you won’t; neither will the wooed lady. But understanding is overrated - what you want from music is feeling, and that is what you get from Bez, purveyor of the less-heard but no less authentic sounds of Nigeria. His debut album Super Sun (2011) was a low-key success, announcing his presence. His forthcoming sophomore should consolidate that presence. This video to ‘There’s a Fire’ released as the first single from that sophomore may defy understanding, being a collection of apparently unlinked scenes. But in the movement of the female dancer, the worship of the male and the colour scheme, there’s as much poetry as there are mystical elements. It’s advisable not to take the artist’s word for it: You may not understand, just feel!

WEST AFRICA (French)
‘L’amitié et la vérité’ - Cheikh Lô (Senegal) ft. Flavia Coelho & Fixi

WOMEX 2015 laureate, Senegalese star Cheikh Lô, accompanied by the beautiful Brazilian Flavia Coelho and French accordionist Fixi, speak to our emotions with this great song, ‘Degg gui’. His smooth voice mixed with Flavia’s crystalline texture and complemented by Fixi’s accordion, give this song a cosmopolitan touch. They sing about universal themes: friendship and truth.

CENTRAL AFRICA
‘T’aimer’ - Masning Princez (Cameroon)

Masning, a young Cameroonian songstress, has released a new video called ‘T’aimer’, which means ‘loving you’ in French. In this song she declares her love to a special guy. This video with a Zouk tempo conveys love and sensuality. It’s so nice, you’ll want to play it twice!

EAST AFRICA
‘Kuchu Kuchu’ - Bahati ft. Wyre & King Kaka (Kenya)

“How many dreams for today? So many visions on the way…” goes a new song and video that continues to spark controversy among the Kenyan music fraternity. The audience is divided on ‘Kuchu Kuchu’, a song that brings together both secular and gospel artists. Kevin Wyre (aka Wyre), an R&B and reggae musician, Kevin Onimba, a rapper commonly referred to as Kaka Sungura, and Kevin Kioko (aka Bahati) have teamed up in this video that showcases their versatility. For critics, the collaboration is viewed as a way of confusing those with ‘weak faith’. Nevertheless, this is a bold step for the collaborating artists, knowing how it could be perceived among conservative audiences. Depite the controversy, the song has a positive and timely message that encourages young people to rise up and do something meaningful in life.

SOUTHERN AFRICA
‘Best’ - Petite Noir (SA)

Cape Town-based artist Yannick Ilunga, better known by his stage name Petite Noir, remains relatively unknown in South Africa, even though he’s usually travelling the world.  His latest video, for the track ‘Best’, is a taste of his forthcoming debut album La Vie Est Belle / Life is Beautiful, which promises to be the first full expression of what he calls ‘Noirwave’, encompassing a ‘new African aesthetic’ and inspired by innovators and legends like Fela Kuti, Tabu Ley and Mos Def. The video is his fifth in the past eight months and follows ‘Down’, which was shot in Lumumbashi, DRC. The music is far from your typical Afro-pop, but one can’t help but be drawn in by the video’s powerful, hypnotic African imagery.  It was directed by Trayvon Owens, with art direction by Rochelle Nembhard, who recently told Stereogum: “I wanted to break all boundaries in how we portrayed the continent and her people. The video showcases the beauty of the continent, the richness in her landscapes, the sacredness of her culture, the immense diversity of her tribes and the natural inherent beauty and style of her people.”

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