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10 “Afro-soul” artistes you can lean on to lift your spirits in times like this

The contemporary term “Afro-soul” pops up as a slur these days as it is casually thrown around in the kind of fashion that depicts that a lot of folks might not understand the actual essence of the suffix: Soul.

There is no shame in not knowing, except if one incessantly refuses not to.

Since time immemorial, black Americans came up with the term ‘Soul music’, and they coined it for a reason. The way the black Americans fused their innate celestial-esque type of chord progressions, with emotional singing that had in-depth lyrics attached, gave birth to the term Soul music. It was a kind of sound that acted in the form of therapeutic care during despondent days.

Therefore, by definition, soul music is a type of music that uplifts spirits (disclaimer: this is in no way a religious plight).

Soul music transcends the surface as it goes beyond a sweet voice. What makes for Soulful music is a streamlined blend that entails an angelic voice, emotional instrumentations, and in-depth lyrics ( themes such as holistic love for humanity and self, vulnerability, etc).

 This is why a misnomer is found in the careless usage of the loosely termed  “Afro-Soul” today.

The majority of the songs that are often classified under this contemporary music style do not correlate with the traditional black American style and as such shouldn’t be regarded as ‘Afro-Soul’.

Afro-soul is a rich blend of African elements fused with the aforementioned traditional black American soul musical stylings. Quite contrary to popular opinion, the style has been in existence since the days of soulful singers like South Africa’s Miriam Makeba and is not relatively new.

Now to the reason why you clicked in the first place. “Afro-soul” artists by virtue are one of the contemporary sonic conveyors of elevated emotions such as hope, pristine euphoria, happiness, etc.

 Through their deep-cut style of singing, therapy isn’t far from reach. One can agree that the world is presently in a bad state, and as such, there is no better time to get on board with some of this sensational subgenre’s music artists.

Here are ten Afro-soul artists you can lean onto as the travails of the World unfold.

Bien: Kenyan-born, Bien, is one-quarter of the legendary East African Boy band, Sauti Sol. What makes Bien stand out from the rest of the group is his entrapping tenor and thoughtful songwriting. These qualities are also pivotal in his career as a soloist. Bien weaves deep emotions into his music. His music is usually centered on the simple things that life brings. A bad day could instantly switch into a not-so-bad one upon listening to the sweet voice of Bien.

Bien Starter pack: True Love, Bald Men Love Better (E.P), My Baby.

Msaki:Msaki is one of South Africa’s most unique vocal powerhouses. She possesses a vocal range capable of sneaking into the intrinsic parts of one’s soul and she does this with the most effortless of coos and echoes.

Msaki Starter Pack:  Ubomi Abumanga, White Shadow, Born In a Taxi.

Lindsey Abudei:  Lindsey Abudei is a Nigerian-born singer and songwriter with the cadence of a celestial goddess. Lindsey’s music transcends the generic as she belts a falsetto in ways that quickly register into the heart of a discerning listener. She embodies a range of soul legends such as Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald.

Lindsey Abudei Starter Pack: Drift Away, Abu Ya (Her Song), Thunder In My Arms.

Fatoumata Diawara: Award-winning Malian singer-songwriter, Fatoumata Diawara has the voice of the sun; capable of illuminating one’s day. Diawara’s music reaches for earthly subjects whilst being depicted in ways that leave room for the ethereal.

Fatoumata Diawara Starter Pack: Sete, Manitoumani, Moussoya.

Tar1q:Tar1q is a fast-rising Nigerian singer-songwriter. His voice lingers in ways that reconcile artistic ingenuity with pop appeal. Tariq’s songs are thoughtfully written and don’t take much runtime before they get you in your feelings (pun intended).

Tar1q Starter Pack: nEar, Away, In My Feelings.

Nomfundo Moh: Nomfundo wears a petite build that might convey her whole outlook as unimposing, or less threatening, but as soon as the South African singer opens her mouth to sing, her powerful voice creates an instant feeling, a feeling borne out of Indigenous originality and soul.

Nomfundo Moh Starter Pack: Uthando Lunye, Umjolo o Healthy, Sundays Are For Lovers.

Tems: Honestly speaking, you should know Tems by now. Temilade Openiyi is special in several ways than one could recount. Tems vocals feel like they were designed by the man upstairs himself.

Tems Starter Pack:  Higher, Looku Looku, Free Mind.

Ami Faku: Ami Faku is an extraordinary South African music artist whose voice is capable of transporting waves of serenity to the body and soul.

Ami Faku Starter Pack: Fatela, Oh My My,  Ndivulele.

The Muffinz: The Muffinz are a South African boy band that consists of five active members. Although the group peaked in 2012, their music still hits deep in the soul.

The Muffinz Starter Pack: Have You Heard (Album), You’re The One.

The tenth position has been left for our reader’s discretion- Please, go nuts!

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