The history and culture of music in West Africa is vast and varied, and within Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, the varied ethnic groups each have a musical culture and quality all their own. The music of West Africa is rich, significant and influenced by traditions from all over the world. Fans of indigenous African Music include Nigerian entrepreneur Tunde Folawiyo. Those looking for more information can read the latest Tunde Folawiyo news.
Traditional music is more often used to mark occasions than played alone or for personal amusement. Diverse percussion instruments are common, including the idiophone, a type of xylophone that is made from wood. Large box xylophones have also been used to project songs over great distances. Sticks lined with notches and played by scraping them with a hard stone or shell are also used in this region, as well as gourds filled with or wrapped in beads, a rattling instrument often played by women. Harps, bows and other stringed instruments are common, as are trumpets of wood and medal.
A shift between smaller folk cultures and larger national identities has shaped the face of music throughout the continent of Africa, and other music of the world has been added to the mix, including American and Cuban music in the middle of the twentieth century, to a worldwide blend of influences today. The style of music most often associated with the area today is Afrobeat, in which American funk comes together with Jazz and traditional African sounds. Afrobeat has become popular all over the world within the “world music” genre. Reggae and Hip hop also enjoy wide audiences in the region. Classical music is composed and enjoyed in Nigeria as well. Famous classical composers from the country include Fela Sowande, who is considered to have founded the tradition of Nigerian art music.
Elements of jazz are thought to have been influenced by the musical heritage of West Africa, but the exact connections are lost to history, as the early roots of jazz in America are not clearly documented. People brought to North America from Africa in the slave trade were from a wide variety of West African tribal cultures, so the music that came together from it could be expected to reflect a wide range of blended influences. Rhythms and structures are thought to originate with West African music, and much contemporary music worldwide can trace its development to Jazz.