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‘This Isn’t a Fad’: Three of Africa’s Biggest Stars on Making the Industry Come to Them

The next musical revolution is brewing in Africa. As the industry buzzes with — and profits from — new languages and sounds from all over, the prospects for artists across the continent have never been brighter or more numerous. There have, of course, always been African superstars — from Miriam Makeba to Hugh Masekela to Fela Kuti — as well as great respect for the continent’s music, thanks to projects like Paul Simon’s iconic 1986 album, Graceland, which famously put Ladysmith Black Mambazo and others on the international map. But despite major-label deals, chart successes and eye-popping sales figures, African artists have often been siloed from the popular music landscape, segregated under the “world music” banner or viewed as Africans first, artists second…


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