The 64th Annual Grammy Awards are just around the corner, and the world is buzzing off the recent announcement of the 2022 Awards ceremony nominees. Dubbed 'Music's Biggest Night,' year after year, artists and music enthusiasts anticipate revealing music's crème de la crème receiving their nods from the Recording Academy, and 2021 was no different. The Academy announced the newest batch of nominees on November 23, and the event created a frenzy, as always. The long list of nominees included several of Africa's shining stars who have made triumphant strides internationally, from newcomers to legends. As a result, the continent's presence at the Grammys has become a regular occurrence now, with more homegrown talent every year.
Africa is a melting pot of cultures, and the music is a testament to how exportable the continent's arts are. While many artists are happy with conquering their home ground, many set their sights on international recognition, and many have made that a reality. Since the Grammy Awards' inception in 1959, eleven African artists have won the prestigious gramophone trophy making the entire continent proud.
Malian guitarist, Ali Forka Touré, has won 3 Grammys, scooping his first award in 1995 in the category "Best World Music Album" for his album Talking Timbuktu. His second was in 2006 for his album In the Heart of the Moon, which won in the "Best Traditional World Music Album" category. His third win was for his album Ali and Toumani, in the same category as his second win.
Owour Arunga, Kenyan Jazz trumpeter, won three Grammys in one evening for contributing to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' song Thrift Shop from their album The Heist. The album won big at the 2014 Grammys scooping up awards in the "Best Rap Song," "Best Rap Performance," and "Best Rap Album" categories.
African music royalty, Angelique Kidjo, has 4 Grammys to her name. The Beninese vocal powerhouse has taken home the award in the "Best Contemporary World Album" category for Djin Djin in 2008, two awards in the "Best World Music Album" for her albums, Eve and Sings, in 2015 and 2016, and her most recent win for her album Celia in the "Global Music Album" category in 2020.
The South African all-male Iscathamiya group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, have bagged five awards, winning their first in 1988 for Shaka Zulu in the "Best Traditional Folk Recording." They won their second in 2004 for their album, Raise Your Spirit Higher", in the "Best Traditional World Music" category. Their tally increased with three more wins in 2009, 2013, and 2017.
Another South African group, The Soweto Gospel Choir, known for their dazzling voices, has 4 Grammys. They took home the award for "Best Traditional World Music" for their albums, Blessed (2007) and African Spirit (2008). They also scooped up the "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)" in 2010 for their collaboration with Christopher Tin on Baba Yetu and most recently for their album Freedom in the "Best Global Music Album" category in 2019.
Music group Tinariwen, formed in 1979 in Alegria, won for their album Tassili in the "Best World Music Album" category in 2012.
Senegalese artiste, Youssou Ndour, won his Grammy in 2012 for his album, Egypt, in the category "Best Contemporary World Music Album."
South African flutist Wouter Kellerman took home his Grammy alongside Indo-American music producer Ricky Kej for Winds of Samsara at the 57th Grammy Awards.
Nigerian beatboxer Kevin Olusola, a member of the acapella group, Pentatonix, brought the award home for their arrangement of popular Daft Punk songs in the "Arrangement, Instrumental or Accapella" category.
Nigerian Afrobeats superstars, Wizkid and Burna Boy both scooped up an award each in 2021. Wizkid won for his contribution to Beyoncé's Brown Skin Girl for "Best Music Video. After losing to Angelique Kidjo the year before, Burna Boy vowed to make 2021 his year, and he did just that, taking home the award for "Best Global Music Album" for Twice as Tall.
2022 will prove to be another African studded affair at the Grammys with a whopping eight nominations for artists Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti, Made Kuti, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Rocky Dawuni, newcomer, Tems, and DJ, Black Coffee. The ceremony will air on January 31 in 2022.