By Elizabeth Doyle
Nneka — Nigeria has made some of the most popular music in all of Africa. They have some really excellent recording studios there, and a long history of putting out worldwide hits. Here’s a modern rising Nigerian star that I like. Her full name is Nneka Egbuna, and she was born in Nigeria to a Nigerian father and European mother. Perhaps slightly influenced by famous Nigerian musicians like Fela Kuti, who helped establish Afrobeat, she also writes and sings songs that seem to be very much just her own thoughts, feelings and inventions. I like the honesty with which she sings. And what a sweet voice! She’s my pick for the next international Nigerian sensation: Click here.
D’Gary — You don’t have to be a guitar aficionado to appreciate how talented this guy is! He hails from Madagascar, where music is as diverse as the people who live there, and he absolutely plays the guitar his very own way. He even has an idiosyncratic way of tuning it. He’s a descendent of the nomadic Bara tribe of Madagascar, and according to rumor, took his guitar playing to professional levels in part in order to help support his widowed mother. I think he’s pretty spectacular. Here he is:
Mak Minah – Mak Minah Anggong was a traditional Malaysian singer from Kampung Peretak. She was Temuan, and traditionally, many Temuans believe that their people were put on this earth to guard the rainforests. Mak Minah was herself an environmental activist who was very vocal against a damming project that forced many Temuans to leave their forests and ancestral lands. Devoted to the culture and traditions of her ancestors, she was also a heartfelt singer who was just stepping into the spotlight late in life, when sadly, she passed away rather suddenly. We do have some recordings of her singing, though. Here she is, singing as part of the group, Akar Umbi: Click here.
Top photo: Andreas Lederer / “Copyleft: This work of art is free; you can redistribute it and/or modify it according to terms of the Free Art License.” Nneka in 23 July 2009
Second photo: Tom Turner / “Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License Wikimedia Commons.” A busy market street in Antananarivo, Madagascar, where D’Gary was born.
Third photo: 10014derek / ”The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted.” / A picture of the view from Mt. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia