A documentary series exploring the musical traditions of African countries and their influence on popular music. Rita Ray travels to 3 countries in search of ancient musical traditions.
- Nigeria – to explore the importance of rhythm in the music –
DJ and broadcaster Rita Ray travels to Nigeria, home of some of the most influential African music of the last 60 years. The country’s extraordinary polyrhythms have powered highlife, funk and Afrobeat for decades, and can still be heard in modern pop music.
Travelling to Lagos and beyond, Rita traces the importance of rhythm in Nigeria’s music and discovers the many different musical styles it has created, from Yoruba juju music, to acoustic singer-songwriters and world-class pop.
- South Africa – home to distinctive vocal harmonies Visiting Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, she discovers the extraordinary songs and harmonies that have given this country a voice abroad. They have often carried messages about inequality and injustice at home, resulting in beautiful music with a real sense of purpose.
South Africa is a diverse nation, and each tribal group has its own musical traditions. Cutting-edge artists sing in ancient languages such as Xhosa, migrant workers stave off homesickness with traditional singing and dancing in the street, whilst four-part harmonies imported from the west are heard in every church, but given an unmistakable South African twist.
- Mali – home to the most Grammy-winning artists in Africa – Rita Ray travels to Mali in West Africa, home to a deep musical culture and ancient instruments that are the hallmark of their sound.
Mali has produced more Grammy-winning artists than any other African country, and this well of talent has drawn in artists and producers from around the world to collaborate with the local musicians.
Whilst the country has been rocked by Islamist insurgency, leading to a ban on music in some areas, Rita finds out how a traditional way of life and rich musical culture have endured.
For the full programme schedule go to BBC 4