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African Musicians Who Have Won Grammy Awards


The Grammy awards is classify to be the most prestigious and heavy weight title each and every artist dreams of as far as music is concern.

Let me take you back to a brief history of Grammy. It all started on the 4th of May, 1958. It was first held in Beverly Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles and was hosted by Mort Sahl. The first award for best rap performance was presented to DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (Vocal duo consisting of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith).

Georg Solti, Quincy Jones, Alison Krauss, John Williams, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Jay Z, Stevie Wonder and other great personalities have all won the BET awards in the past years.


In Africa few persons has been able to win some of these awards and the list are as follows;

1. Ali Farka Touré – 3 Grammys

The self-taught Malian guitarist and songwriter won his first Grammy in 1995 in the ‘Best World Music Album’ category for his album ‘Talking Timbuktu’.

His second Grammy came in 2006 in the ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’ for his album ‘In the Heart of the Moon’

The late musician cumulated his Grammy wins in 2011 with an award in the ‘Best Traditional World Music Album ‘for his album ‘Ali and Toumani’

2. Owuor Arunga – 3 Grammys

This Coke Studio artiste rose to fame in Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ‘Thrift Shop’ for his trumpeting skills which were utilised in many parts of the group’s 2014 album ‘The Heist’.

‘Thrift Shop’ carried a Grammy for ‘Best Rap Song’ and ‘Best Rap Performance’ while ‘The Heist’ carried the day for ‘Best Rap Album’.

3.  Angélique Kidjo – 3 Grammys

Known for her versatile music, the Beninese vocal-powerhouse is fluent inFon, French, Yorùbá and English languages which she utilises in her songs. But despite being fluent in 4 languages, she does not stop there as she provides something for her East African fans with ‘Malaika’ which is sung in Kiswahili.

The New-York based singer has won a Grammy for ‘Best Contemporary World Album’ thanks to ’Djin Djin’, an award for ‘Best World Music Album’ in 2015 for ‘Eve’ and in 2016, ‘Best World Music Album’ for ‘Sings.’

4. Ladysmith Black Mambazo- 5 Grammys

The all-male South African acappella singing group won their first Grammy in 1988 in the ‘Best Traditional Folk Recording’ category for Shaka Zulu.

Their second Grammy came 16 years later in 2004 for the ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’ category, a win that was earned by their ‘Raise Your Spirit Higher’ album.

In 2009 their album ‘Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu’ won them a Grammy Award and in 2013 they gained another Grammy in ‘Best World Music Album’ category for ‘Live: Singing for Peace around the World.’ In 2017, they also won another Grammy Award

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5. Soweto Gospel Choir – 3 Grammys

The South African music group has been described by the American entertainment media brand Billboard as “absolutely thrilling singers” with “dazzling music”

Known for their spirit-rousing voices, their albums ‘Blessed’ and ‘African Spirit’ won the Grammy Award for ‘Best Traditional World’ Music Album in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

2 years later, their collaboration with composer Christopher Tin’s for a song called “Baba Yetu”, won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).

6. Tinariwen – 1 Grammy

The Toureg people live in the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali and their male members are known as the ‘blue men of the Sahara’. A name that was derived from the blue hue left on their faces after their indigo-dyed cotton head wraps called tagelmust rub against their faces.

From this tribe of ‘blue men of the Sahara’ comes a music group called Tinariwen.

Formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset in Algeria, the group won their first Grammy in 2012 in the ‘Best World Music Album’ category for their album Tassili.

 7. Youssou Ndour – 1 Grammy

The Senegalese superstar served as a ‘Minister of Tourism’ for the West Africa Country from April 2012 to September 2013.

His first Grammy had come 7 years before his monumental appointment when he bagged the best contemporary world music album for his album ‘Egypt’ in 2005.

8. Wouter Kellerman – 1 Grammy

The South African flautist received a Grammy Award at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards for the album ‘Winds of Samsara’.

An award he won alongside Indo-American composer and music producer Ricky Kej for their work on ‘Winds of Samsara ‘.

9. Kevin Olusola – 1 Grammy

Kevin Olusola is known as the beat boxer of the Acapella band Pentatonix who rose to fame through their awesome renditions of classic and spanking new hits.

The Yale alumnus made Nigerians swell with pride when he won an award with his wildly-popular band, Pentatonix, in the ‘Arrangement, Instrumental or Acappella’ category for their assortment of Daft Punk’s most notable songs including ‘Stronger’ with Kanye West and ‘Get Lucky’ with Pharell.

Author: Kingshype