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Grammys: Who are the Previous African Winners?

Nigerian musicians Burna Boy and Wizkid join a list of other African musicians who have won Grammys. Accepting his recent award for the Best...

Nigerian musicians Burna Boy and Wizkid join a list of other African musicians who have won Grammys.

Accepting his recent award for the Best Global Music Album, Burna Boy said, “It was a big win for his generation of Africans around the world and a lesson to every African out there that they can achieve anything.”

By @Comic24Derick

The singer clinched his first Grammy after he was nominated during the 62nd edition, losing to Kidjo. His second nomination in a row landed him the fiercely contested accolade, beating a line-up of talented musicians.

The album was described as, “Twice As Tall” as “a masterclass in the vibe and hustle that have made Burn Boy an international music force.” 

It continued, “(He) continues to torch limitations, seamlessly blending styles and genres and fearlessly fuelling the fire heating the melting pot of pop, Afrobeat, dancehall, reggae and more.”

Wizkid walked away with an award for the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé, Brown Skin Girl, from Lion King: The Gift Album. The award is given to the artist, video director and video producer.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
The duo joins other African musical artisans who have claimed the acclaimed Grammys. South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo became the first South African group to clinch the coveted prize in 1988 for the Best Traditional Folk Album titled Shaka Zulu.

The traditional acapella group was further nominated in 1991 and 1993 respectively. They won the gong again in 2005 for the Best Traditional World Music Album. 

The all-male Zulu ensemble clinched a record five Grammy Awards in their existence. In 2008, Soweto Gospel Choir won the award for the Best Traditional World Music Album.

Burna Boy becomes the first Nigerian to win a Grammy for his original work, a feat that evaded the legendary jazz singer, Fela Kuti, who was nominated a record five times between 2003 and 2014. Topping the list is Ladysmith Black Mambazo with five awards.

Ali Farka Toure, a self-taught Malian guitarist has accumulated three Grammys, the initial gong coming in 1995. Also with three Grammys is Owuor Arunga, tied with Beninise singer Aneglique Kidjo. Described by Billboard as “absolutely thrilling singers” with “dazzling music”, the Soweto Gospel Choir has also accumulated three Grammys.

Other African possessing a single Grammy each are Tinariwen from Mali, Snegallese Youssou Ndour, Wouter Kellerman, a South African flautist, and Kevin Olusola, an American rapper born to a parent with Nigerian roots.

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