It’s Grammy time, tensions are running high and world-wide anticipation has reached fever pitch. With the ceremony set to take place in New York, you can be sure that millions will stream the prestigious ceremony. With that said, it is commendable that the Recording Academy did not leave out African artists (although we still think there should be an afrobeats award!). Here are African musicians nominated this year:
1. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
The South African Scathamiya/Mbube group has 2 nominations. Their album Shaka Zulu Revisited is nominated in the category of Best World Music. The 2nd nomination is for their album Songs of PEACE & LOVE for Kids and Parents Around the World is vying for Best Children’s Album. The group is legendary, having been nominated a total of 19 times with 4 wins at the Grammy Awards. Joseph Shabalala founded the group in 1960.
A rebellious music group from Tessalit, Mali. Tinariwen means “The deserts” in the language of Toureg. Their album, Elwan, is nominated for Best World Music. They bagged a Grammy in the same category for their album Tassili. The group was initially founded in Algeria but they went to Mali. They gained prominence for performing at Festival au Désert. They have 7 albums and 1 film.
3. Tunji Ige
The American rapper is nominated for producing Khalid’s 2017 smash hit “Location”. Ige was born to Nigerian parents and has lived in America all his life. He is influenced by Fela Kuti and Kanye West. He started making music at the tender age of 14 using a sampler and a laptop. In 2014 he released a self-produced album titled The Love Project.
4. Tyler The Creator
Born Tyler Gregory Okonma, the American rapper uses Tyler the Creator as his stage name. His 2017 Album, Flower Boy (#5 on our top projects of 2017 list) is nominated for Best Rap Album. Tyler, who is also a music producer and music video director was born to a Nigerian father. He now has 2 Grammy nominations, one for being a featured artist in Frank Ocean’s Chanel Orange in 2012.
5. Lost Somali Tapes
Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes From The Horn of Africa is a compilation of songs from Somalia during the reign of the military Siyaad Barre(1970s to 1980s.) It is nominated for best Historical Album and produced by Nicolas Shelkholeslami and Vik Sihonie.
“Makeba” is a video that was released by French musician Jain. It is nominated for Best Music Video. Miriam Makeba is a legendary South African songstress whom Jain is inspired by. “She was a strong woman and an incredible performer”
7. Bobo Yeye: Belle Epoque in Upper Volta
Nominated for Best Historical Album and Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package, this is a collection of songs from different artist in Burkina Faso. The range of songs span from the 1970s to 1984. This was a critical time in Burkina Faso’s history, leader Thomas Sankara had imposed restrictions on the post-colonial music movement.
8. The Weeknd
You can debate who the real STARBOY is but the crooning singer hailing from Ethiopia has already won the Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Congrats!
Every artist here is deserving of a Grammy nomination, who’s going to win? Well it’s anyone’s game at this point. All the best to the nominees.