Fatima Al Qadiri is a Brooklyn-based composer, musician, curator and artist. Born in Senegal, Al Qadiri's exposure to the rampant misappropriation of Western subculture while growing up in Kuwait is apparent in her highly virtuosic body of work. She has performed her symphonic and plaintive baroque electronic compositions at The Kitchen, Gallery 179 and Santos Party House and has regularly exhibited multimedia projects in New York City and Kuwait alongside fellow iconoclasts Khalid Al Gharaballi and Lauren Boyle.
Esau Mwamwaya was born in Mzuzu in Malawi, East Africa. He grew up in the capital, Lilongwe, where he played drums in various bands such as Masaka Band. He was a good friend of the legendary Evison Matafale and they played together for several years before Matafale was killed in Malawi police custody in 2003. In 1999 Esau Mwamwaya moved to London, England has until recently run a second-hand furniture store in Clapton, East London.
Kutta Toumani Diabaté (born August 10, 1965) is a Malian kora player who has gained international acclaim for his music. He is a versatile performer, being equally at home with the traditional music of Mali as well as with cross-cultural collaborations with flamenco, blues, jazz, and other international styles.
Diabaté comes from a long family tradition of kora players including his fathers, Kutta, Kameena & Sidiki Diabaté, who recorded the first ever kora album in 1970. His cousin Maya Jobarteh is a premiere female diaspora kora player.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 Oct 1938 – 2 Aug 1997), or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of afrobeat music, human rights activist, political maverick & leader of Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa '70. HMV Magazine ranked him #46, on a list of the top-100 most influential musicians, of the 20th century. The musical style performed by Fela Kuti is called Afrobeat, which is essentially a fusion of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and traditional African chants and rhythms.
Papa Noel (whose stage name comes from the fact he was born Antoine Nedule Monswet on Christmas day 1940) is a veteran of the golden age of Congolese music. In the 1940s and 50s Congolese rumba, until then performed traditionally on lokole log drum and sanza thumb piano was modernised by a group of pioneers. They transformed it by playing it on electric guitar, Latin congas and brass instruments.
Thomas Mapfumo (born 1945 in Marondera, Zimbabwe) is a Zimbabwean musician known as "The Lion of Zimbabwe" for his immense popularity and for the political influence he wields through his music. Pre-Independence, his songs openly called for the violent overthrow of the government, with lyrics like "Mothers, send your sons to war." Since the white government didn't understand Shona, however, at first they didn't realize how radical the songs were.
There is more than one artist known as 'Queen Jane'. 1) A veteran Kenyan female musician, who sings in the Kikuyu language which is Kenya's second most commonly spoken language. 2) A wee band from Cumbernauld who write songs which have nothing to do with Kenya and are instead about getting their hole.
William Onyeabor studied cinematography in Russia for many years, returning to Nigeria in the mid-70s to start his own Wilfilms music label and to set up a music and film production studio. He recorded a number of hit songs in Nigeria during the 70s, the biggest of which was "Atomic Bomb" in 1978. William has now been crowned a High Chief in Enugu, where he lives today as a successful businessman working on government contracts and running his own flour mill.