Harmonize's "Anajikosha"

The 6 Best East African Songs of the Month (January)

Featuring Bensoul, Harmonize, Khaligraph Jones, Zuchu and more.

January was a big month for East African music, with several hit songs being released from the heavyweights in the industry as well as talented newcomers rivaling for the top spot.

Check out our favorite East African music releases of the month featuring Bensoul, Harmonize, Khaligraph Jones and more.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

Harmonize 'Anajikosha'

East African superstar bongo artist Harmonize continues to be consistent with his releases in 2021 and he certainly didn't disappoint with his newest banger "Anajikosha." This track is the bongo-flava king's amazing take on the Amapiano craze, and he nailed it!

Khaligraph Jones x Sarkodie 'Wavy'

Popular Kenyan rapper Khaligraph Jones teamed up with legendary Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie to drop one of the major tracks of the month. This highly anticipated collaboration has certainly been making major waves since it dropped with the two decorated rappers going back and forth with fast-paced aggressive verses.

Bensoul 'Nairobi' ft. Sauti Sol, Nviiri the Storyteller, Mejja

Sol Generation artiste Bensoul secured the number one spot on Kenyan music charts this month with his newest single "Nairobi" featuring Sauti Sol, Nviiri the storyteller and Mejja. This track tells the truth about the Nairobi dating scene and how everyone is sharing their partner with someone else.

Tucker HD 'Mind Games'

Tucker HD is a talented rising rap artist from Kampala, Uganda. He shows off his lyrical and rap prowess in his latest track "Mind Games" over an upbeat, poppy instrumental.

Zuchu 'Sukari'

Tanzanian bongo newcomer Zuchu continues her winning streak with a new hit to start off the year. "Sukari" is a sweet love song about a love that is as sweet as "sukari" (sugar) that you can't get enough of it.

Alikiba 'Infidèle'

Legendary Bongo-flava star Alikiba made his return with a new track titled "Infidele" produced by Yogo beats and under Kiba's record label Kings Music Records.This comes after his highly successful collaborations in 2020 with Tanzanian singer Nandy and producer, DJ Sbu of South Africa.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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