If you’re an Afropop fan who’s had the pleasure of seeing the Marvel Studio blockbuster, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, you were likely struck within the opening minutes of the film by the unmistakable voice of our friend and frequent guest on Afropop Worldwide, Senegal's living legend, Baaba Maal. Absolutely beautiful! It is good to know that tens of millions of film-goers—in theaters now and later online—may hear African music for the first time in this film’s soundtrack.
Baaba Maal is listed in the credits as “funeral singer,” as his poignant voice gives sonic and emotional support to the people of Wakanda mourning the loss of King T’Challa (played in the original Black Panther film by the late Chadwick Boseman). Throughout the film, we hear powerful tama (Senegalese talking drum) from Baaba Maal’s longtime percussionist, Massamba Diop, currently engaged in a solo career collaborating with the likes of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Later in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, we hear the song “Alone” by the ever-present and in-your-face/ears Nigerian Afrobeats star, Burna Boy.
The film’s principle composer, Ludwig Göransso visited both Mexico City and Lagos to bring him up to speed with local instruments and sounds. The resulting international line up of global voices brings richness to the soundtrack’s best songs.
Overall, this infrequent film reviewer thinks that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a triumph in terms of its portrayal of Amazon-like broad shouldered, beautiful and talented women warriors, compelling acting by leads such as Angela Bassett and Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o of Kenyan-Mexican heritage, stunning visuals, and plenty of thrilling fight scenes. This is yet another fine contribution to the ongoing Afrofuturism movement.
Click here to see the track listings and to hear Baaba Maal, Burna Boy and others.