An African music travel playlist MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

An African music playlist for your travel adventures!

Hey there! I’ll start by admitting something: I’m not exactly the musical type. I can’t carry a tune to save my life, and I tend to embarrass myself whenever I try to sing along to a song. Picture this: a group of friends belting out their favorite dance track, and then there’s me, warbling like a distressed kitten. Yeah, not my finest moment. In fact, karaoke nights are what I imagine my personal version of hell to be like.

But you know what? That doesn’t stop me from believing that music and travel go hand in hand. Whenever I embark on a journey, it feels like I’m starring in my very own movie with a killer soundtrack (and hey, maybe Meryl Streep can make a cameo – although I prefer her in The Devil Wears Prada over The Iron Lady).

These African artists, singers, and songwriters have a powerful effect on me, inspiring me to travel:

Khona – Mafikizolo ft. Uhuru (South Africa)

Mafikizolo has been part of South Africa’s music scene for a long time. Despite facing tragic events in recent years, they have released their latest album ‘Six Mabone,’ named after a 60s classic car. But out of all their songs, my favorite is ‘Khona.’ Every time I hear it, it compels me to grab my camera, hop on a bus or train, and venture off to capture beautiful moments.

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Senegal Fast Food – Amadou & Mariam ft. Manu Chao (Mali)

I first discovered Amadou & Mariam, a talented blind musical couple, through a friend I met while exploring Benin. Ever since that moment, I’ve been a huge fan. Believe it or not, this Grammy-winning duo even had the chance to perform alongside U2 in South Africa back in 2011. It’s truly inspiring to see their incredible musical abilities despite their visual impairment. Their music always fills me with an overwhelming desire to hop on a plane and embark on a journey up the beautiful West Coast. Honestly, who cares about the logistics when the video is simply amazing?

Now, let me introduce you to another fantastic artist. Brace yourself for “Yori Yori” by Bracket from Nigeria. This song is an absolute gem and deserves all the attention it gets. So, if you haven’t already heard it, you’re in for a treat!

So, there’s this one song that just stays with you, like a really stubborn itch. When I was in Kenya back in 2010, this song was absolutely everywhere. It played on the radio, on CD players, you name it. And now, it’s stuck to me like glue. It’s called Yori, and it means “sweetness or a good feeling about someone or something” in Igbo. This song is what shot the music duo Nwachukwu Ozioko, aka Vast, and Ali Obumneme, aka Smash, into the spotlight of African music. It’s young, it’s fun, and it’s the kind of song that can’t help but put you in a good mood.

Annie-Flore Batchiellilys (Gabon)

Have you heard of Annie-Flore? She’s quite the legend in West Africa. Some even compare her to Miriam Makeba from Gabon. Born in a small village near Libreville, Annie-Flore is deeply proud of her country and its growth. Her music is truly remarkable. Starting from humble beginnings, she has become one of Africa’s most esteemed international singers. My journey into the world of travel began on a beach in Gabon, and Annie-Flore’s music was the perfect soundtrack for that moment. It holds a special place in my heart.

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Lazizi – Sauti Sol (Kenya)

Sauti Sol is a Kenyan music group comprised of Bien Aime Baraza, Willis Austin Chimano, Delvin Mudigi, and Polycarp Otieno. The name “Sauti Sol” means “Voices of Light” in English. Back in 2009, they took the Kenyan youth by storm with their hit song Lazizi, marking a new era in Kenyan music.

What sets Sauti Sol apart is their ability to connect with their audience by addressing relatable topics in their songs. Whether it’s the excitement of asking someone out in Lazizi or the frustration of dealing with police harassment in Blue Uniform, their music resonates with young people. And their unique sound only adds to their popularity.

Now, I can’t wait for the day when their music becomes the soundtrack to a famous movie. I have no doubt it would be a perfect fit.

Ma’ Africa ft. the Mahotella Queens and Ulali

Passion – One Giant Leap (International mix)

Jamie Catto, the founder of Faithless, and Duncan Bridgeman embarked on an extraordinary journey. Their mission? To capture the musical brilliance and wisdom of the world’s greatest thinkers, writers, and entertainers. The outcome is a mesmerizing collection that has been hailed as a “time capsule of humanity at its most inspirational.”

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