The prestigious Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, USA will be celebrating the unique diversity of African music in a new exhibition, ‘Sounds of Africa’, from Friday 24 June.
The Grammy Musuem was established to celebrate “the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the premier recognition of excellence in recorded music.”
The items to be exhibited at 'Sounds of Africa' will take the form of handwritten lyrics, costumes and rare instruments, and will occupy the third floor of the Grammy Museum building, as an extension of the 2016 BET Awards, which takes place on 28 June. Artists from Nigeria, South Africa, Benin and the DR Congo will be represented at the exhibition, which is expected to continue until late 2016.
On display at 'Sounds of Africa' are items belonging to South African group Mafikizolo, Nigerian rapper Ice Prince (winner of the 2013 BET Awards Best International Act) and his countrymen 2Baba (aka 2face Idibia) and guitar great Sir Victor Uwaifo. Also exhibited are materials from Beninoise diva Angelique Kidjo (who earlier this year won her third Grammy), and the late Congolese rumba legend Tabu Ley Rochereau. Nigerian visual artist Laolu Sebanjo, who recently worked with American superstar Beyonce, is the only non-musician to be represented at the exhibition.
Held in conjunction with Black Entertainment Television (BET), 'Sounds of Africa' comes as African artists are enjoying an increased visibility in the west, courtesy of awards, concerts and collaborations. Numerous Africans have toured both Europe and the USA in recent months; while Nigeria’s Wizkid was invited to collaborate with Canadian Grammy winner Drake. Eight African artist are in the running for the Best International Act: Africa category at this year's BET Awards, while Nigeria’s Falz and South African rapper Emtee have been nominated for the Viewer’s Choice Best New International Act award.
The increased exposure of African artists at this year's edition may be seen by some as compensation after the displeasure expressed by the African music community following the 2015 edition of the award ceremony.
“It’s fantastic to see the influence of African artists and music amplified in this unique exhibition in this iconic setting," said Monde Twala from Viacom International Media Networks. "We are excited about working with the Grammy Museum to create this fascinating tribute to legendary, traditional and contemporary African musicians."