We close out the 2023 Afropop Top Video playlist with seven new entries, once again, featuring exceptional women artists, a clear trend in this year's best African music. This set brings the year's list total to 78. A new list starts in January, and if you have suggestions, send them to email@example.com with the subject line “Top Videos 2024.” Enjoy!
Frère Guisse with Jimmy Mbaye: “Saraba”
Here’s a fresh offering from Senegalese veterans. The gorgeous vocal blend of the Guisse brothers is beautifully enhanced by the crisp, plinking guitar work of Youssou N’Dour’s number-one guitarist, Jimmy Mbaye, whose Stratocaster rendering of xalam (ngoni) melodies and mannerisms is unique and unmistakable.
Marthe x Pilani Bubu: “Asizolala”
“Since its creation in 2017 by Florent Briqué and Alexis Moutzouris, the Marthe quartet questions the itinerancy of cultures in time and space.” So reads their bio. Here they team up with South Africa singer and story-teller Pilani Bubu, whom we met at WOMEX 2022. This live performance video by the whole ensemble is cross-cultural collaboration at its natural best.
Kolinga: “Les Fantômes”
Congolese vocalist Rébecca M’Boungou is the star of this video by the Afro-Euro ensemble Kolinga. Here, her eyes shrouded in various remarkable ways, M’Boungou conjures a mystic mood reinforced by striking imagery and super cool minimalist funk.
La Dame Blanche “Veneno”
We first met her at globalFEST in 2018. Born and classically trained on flute at a conservatory in Cuba, La Dame moved to France and launched a maverick crossover career. We hear it all in this performance video, the deep funk, the nimble flute playing and, best of all, the rich gritty power of her Afro-Cuban vocals.
&friends feat. Phina Asa: “This is What It Feels Like”
&friends is a globe-trotting, multicultural collective specializing in full-throttle Afro-techno boogie. This video, featuring vocalist Phina Asa, is wonderfully surreal.
Al Bilali Soudan: “Alhamziatou”
Here’s a new video from Al Bilali Soudan masters of Tuareg takamba and tehardent, polyrhythmic styles featuring virtuoso string-picking and earthy desert vocals. The video has some odd jump cuts, but well worth it for its immortal scenes of the Sahara. A must for those, like us, who just can’t get enough takamba. The producers prefer that you watch on YouTube, but it's worth it!
Pamela Badjogo: “Letondo”
Gabon’s Pamela Badjogo calls herself “The Princess of Bantu Afro-pop.” Her new album brings in highlife veteran Pat Thomas and his guitarist/arranger Kwame Yeboah. On this R&B- and Afrobeats-tinged track, she sings in her native Baskaningu language with silky precision. It’s a memorable cross-generational track, with trippy underwater visuals.