A lot of African has made a mark for themselves by winning awards at the most prestigious award in world music – Grammy Awards. The awards is given to best singers and the virtue of African musicians making the list, depicts how they have been faring when contrasted with others in the world.
This is a well-deserved prize for their contributions to music. Inasmuch as Grammy started far back in 1958, you might want to know how many Africans has been involved since then till now. That’s our aim in this article as we will highlight these notable names.
FULL LIST OF ALL TIME AFRICAN GRAMMY AWARD WINNERS TILL DATE
The following are Africans who have won the grammy awards since its inception:
- LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO (5) – South Africa’s choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has the most Grammy Awards in the continent. Their song Shaka Zulu won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Recording in the 1988 edition. This was followed by their second award for their album, Wenyukela in 2009. They won their third Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album. The male choral band won their fourth Grammy Awards in the 2013 edition. Furthermore, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s song “Shaka Zulu revisited: 30th Anniversary celebration” won the Grammy award for best world music in 2018.
- ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO (3) – Angélique Kidjo is a senior and prolific singer in the music industry. The Benin Republic singer, songwriter and activist is a three time Grammy Award winner. She won her initial award in 2007 with ‘Djin Djin’ (Best Contemporary World Music album). This was followed by her album EVE which won her her second Grammy Award for Best World Music Album at the 57th Grammy Awards. The third award came in 2020 where she won the Best World Music Album (Celia).
- ALI FARKA TOURÉ, (2) – Ali Ibrahim “Farka” Touré who is now late, was a Malian singer and multi-instrumentalist. His first Grammy award came in 1994 from his collaboration with Ry Cooder. The last prestigious award was in 2015, when his collaboration with Toumani Diabaté won him a Grammy award. Moreover, Ali Farka Touré has earn himself two Grammy honors which include the one he won in 2006. This was on the Best Traditional World Music Album which was nominated for his song ‘In the Heart of the Moon.’ The Malian musical artist won another in 2011 for the Best Traditional World Music Album; this was for his song ‘Ali and Tounani’ which was greatly appreciated.
- SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR (2) – The gospel ban of 30 is a prolific union that has made two Grammy awards. Their first came in 2007 for Best Traditional World Music Album. The ban featured with Christopher Tin’s song “Baba Yetu”, and won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists.
- YOUSSOU N’DOUR (1) – Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour won his first Grammy award in 2005. This was for the Best Contemporary World Music Album. The musical artist is a top rated one which has gained a lot of appreciation both locally and on the international scene. N’Dour was born on October 1st, 1959, and he is a Senegalese artist, lyricist, author, seasonal entertainer, businessman and politician. The artist began his musical career at a tender age (12) and once performed with the Star Band, which the most famous group in Dakar during the 70s.
- TINARIWEN (1) – This group of Tuareg singers earned an honor in the 54th Grammy Awards. They won the Grammy award for Best World Music Album with their fifth album, Tassili. Tinariwen group has one Grammy award to their name and this was won in 2012. The Malians topped the Best World Music Album category of the years award. Tinariwen won the prestigious award from their song Tassili.
- WOUTER KELLERMAN (1) – Kellerman is a flutist and music composer from South Africa. In 2015, he won the Grammy for Awards for Best New Age Album. The artist has been known for his good composure as he has contributed to some award winning songs both locally and internationally. His album in 2015 won him the prestigious award which keeps him on a high profile.
- RICHARD BONA (1) – Cameroon’s Richard Bona is in list as one of the winners of global music most prestigious award. The veteran singer won the Grammy award in 2003 when he emerged top of Best Contemporary Jazz Album category. His iconic song ‘Speaking of Now’ nominated him for the first time award.
- BURNA BOY (1) – Nigeria’s Burna Boy became the first Nigerian to win the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. He earned the honor with his album “Twice as Tall”. The Nigerian singer made it in the 2021 edition of the award after slipping from winning in the preceding year.
- BABATUNDE OLATUNJI (1) – Nigeria’s Babatunde Olatunji might be the first person to earn the Grammy recognition. He was given the award for his contribution to a foreign work which won the Best World Music Album in the 1991 edition of the Grammy Awards. The work was titled ‘Planet Drum’ and it won Olatunji the global music most cherished recognition.
- SIKIRU ADEPOJU (1) – In 2009, Nigerian veteran singer Sikiru Adepoju was recognized for his contribution to the foreign work that won the Best Contemporary World Music Album in the years edition. The project was titled ‘Global Drum’ and it was also carried out by various artists.
- WIZKID (1) – Ayo Balogun popularly known by his stage name WizKid is also among the few Nigerian musicians who have won the Grammy Awards. His recognition came due to his contributions to the song with Beyonce and her daughter Blue Ivy. They jointly crafted a song “Brown Skin Girl” that earned him his first ever Grammy Award. The musician is still open to more as they still opportunities judging by what he has been doing in the Nigerian music industry.
- TEMS (1)
Although, Sade Adu was the first Nigerian-born female artist to win a Grammy, Tems is the only other Nigerian-born female artist to win a Grammy in 2023. She joins other people on this quest, like Burna and Starboy. Temilade Openiyi is better known by her stage name, Tems. She became famous after contributing to Wizkid’s 2020 single “Essence,” which was nominated for a Grammy Award and peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 after a remix with Justin Bieber came out. In 2022, American rapper Future used Tems’ voice from her song “Higher” in his single “Wait for U.” This made Tems a featured artist on the song along with Drake. She won the Grammy Award for Best Melodic Rap Performance at the 65th Grammy Awards show, which was held at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California.
That’s the highlight of the African musicians who made their name in the Grammys. Inasmuch as these artists have tried to make this achievement, but taking an inference from the stats above, we can see that there is much work to be done so as to include many.