Videos February 29, 2024
Afropop Top Videos: February, 2024

February was another banner month for the Afropop Top Video playlist with seven new entries. We feature Neo-soul, Cuban pop, and Congolese techno, but the overriding theme is electric-guitar driven roots rock from the deserts of Morocco, Niger and Somaliland. Remember, if you have suggestions of videos our fans would love, send them to with the subject line “Top Videos 2024.” Enjoy!

Bab L’Bluz: “Imazighen”

Leading off in the rootsy rock from desert lands category--clearly a theme on our list this month--we get a taste of the long-awaited second album from Morocco’s Bab L’Bluz. The lead duo of this kinetic group, Yousra Mansour and Brice Bottin, are both steeped in Gnawa tradition. Their signature innovation is electrifying Gnawa guembri lutes to kick out the full sonic punch of any electric guitar going. This is a promising preview of the album to come, showing the power and polish of a band that’s been touring relentlessly over the past two years.

Sahra Halgan: “Sharaf”

This artist from internationally unrecognized Somaliland got her name Halgan (fighter) for her role in the ongoing fight for independent nationhood in her homeland. Exiled in Lyon, France, she uses music these days to deliver her message. From her excellent third album, Hiddo Dhawr, this track seethes with rock energy, while projecting the rhythms and melodies of deeply felt folklore.

KOKOKO!: “Mokili”

This Afrofuturistic combo are leaders of the Congolese alternative music scene. They put the electronic in Congotronics. This dancefloor-ready track pumps hard, and the trippy imagery in the video blend quirky Congolese high fashion with gritty Kinshasa street scenes.

Daymé Arocena: “Por Ti”

Cuban diva Daymé Arocena can do just about anything. She’s best known for her jazz adaptations of deep Afro-Cuban religious music. But on her forthcoming album, Alkemi, she’s letting her more girlish pop side shine. Many of the tracks are already up on YouTube. On this soul-soaked one, she bathes herself in gold paint, among other provocative images. Watch this space of for a new interview with Arocena, in the works now.

Mdou Moctar: “Funeral for Justice”

The hardest rocking of all the Saharan desert rockers, Mdou Moctar of Niger debuts the title track from his forthcoming album Funeral for Justice. Based on his caustic remarks at Central Park Summerstage this summer, in the wake of a coup in Niger, it would appear he’s still pretty pissed off about the setback to democracy in Niamy. Oh, for English subtitles on this one!

Andy S & Marla: “Prodada”

Cote D’Ivoirian rapper Andy S projects attitude and edge in this collaborative video shot on the streets of Abidjan. For sheer speed and flow, Marla can rival the lightning pace of Sarkodie of Ghana. The French subtitles fly past pretty quickly, but are worth deciphering.

Zenesoul: “KEOTR”

Zenesoul, a Nigerian-Canadian soul and R&B singer adds to a burgeoning, young posse of Nigerian artists based in Toronto. Nominated for a Juno Award—the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy—she’s clearly on the upswing. This track and video are spare and stylish.

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