Beyoncé released her album of 14 soundtracks called “Letter to Africa,” featuring some of the best African artists. Queen B has always been attracted to the African culture, and this album was a good opportunity to collaborate with African artists. A combination of both Afrobeat and R&B created a genre more suitable for Beyoncé’s fans while creating an opening for African artists to join the mainstream.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.bbc.com
Internationally recognized pop singer Beyonce released an album in parallel to the recent Lion King movie that showcases the unique sounds of African influences and musical genres. In the film, Beyonce voices the character of grown Nala, Simba’s wife and one of the prominent female characters.
Since the Lion King’s creator based his set on the Kenyan’s great rift valley, Beyoncé decided to produce a 14-soundtrack album entitled “Letter to Africa.” In the album, she featured some of the best African artists and collaborated with several African producers.
Combining Swahili, Pidgin English, Zulu and Xhosa, the album was a great way to portray the beauty of the African musical genre called Afrobeats. She mixed different genres such as R&B, hip hop and pop to create something unique.
The artists featured on the album African influences including Tekno, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade from Nigeria, Salatiel from the Cameroon, Shatta Wale from Ghana, South Africa’s Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly and Busiswa.
Overall, this album was a good opportunity for everyone involved. Some artists like Mr Eazy, Wizkid and Burna Boy have already made breakthroughs in the international (mainstream) music scene especially in the UK, where Afrobeat and Afro-pop are taking over. This album gave them much more outside exposure. It is also an opportunity for people unfamiliar with the Afrobeat genre to discover it.
Besides being a good opportunity for the African artists, it was also a beneficial experience for Beyoncé. This album is a big gain for her because she was able to create a particular genre while mixing multiple genres from different countries with pop and R&B. This album represented an opportunity to bring African influences to the attention of producers and labels to and to highlight new artists.
Though this album impacted the music industry positively, there were some negative reactions from other African artists. For example, Victoria Kimani expressed her disappointment, not only because she was not a part of the project, but also because East African artists were not represented on the album.
Beyoncé constantly showed her interest for the African culture by wearing the African fabrics from famous African designers, as well as jewelry, and featuring them in her Instagram accounts. This album seems like it was a project that she was carrying in her heart and waiting for the right moment to finally express her African roots. To learn more about the African influences on the Lion King soundtrack, visit the BBC website.
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