12 African Musicians Who Won Grammy Awards

Considered the highest form of honor for musicians, the Grammy Awards, since its inception in 1954, has continued to spotlight and celebrate musical geniuses globally.

Its recognition of brilliant projects by African artistes’ dates back to the 1960s when South Africa’s Mariam Makeba became the first African act awarded a Grammy.

Here are 12 African acts that won Grammy awards.

Angélique Kidjo (Republic of Benin, 5 Grammys)

Beninese-French artiste Angélique Kidjo has won the Grammy Awards five times. Kidjo won in 2007, 2015, 2016, 2020, and 2022 in the categories; ‘Best Contemporary World Music Album,’ Best World Music Album ( clinched thrice) and Best Global Music Album,” respectively.

The vocal powerhouse won the Grammys for the albums “Djin Djin, Eve, Sings, Celia, and Mother Nature.”

Ali Farka Touré

Malian musician Ali Farka Touré bagged the Grammy Awards three times. Touré won the ‘Best Global Music Album’ Grammy in 1995 for the ‘Talking Timbuktu’ album.

In 2006, a few weeks before his demise, the Malian multi-instrumentalist won his second Grammy for ‘Heart Of The Moon,’ album with Toumani Diabate.

His post-humous album,” Ali and Toumani,’ released in 2010, won Touré his third Grammy in the category “Best Traditional World Music Album.’

Mariam Makeba (South Africa, 1 Grammy)

Fondly called Mama Africa, Makeba, a South African music
icon, won the Grammy award in 1966 with the joint album “An Evening with Makeba/Belafonte.” Makeba, alongside mentor Henry Belafonte, won in the “Best Folk Recording” category.

Sikiru Adepoju (Nigeria, 2 Grammys)

Adepoju, a two-time Grammy Award winner, hit the
spotlight internationally in 1991 when he won the Grammy Award in the “Best World Music Album” category for his contribution to American percussionist Mickey Hart’sHart’s 1991 “Planet Drum’Drum’ album.

In 2008, Adepoju bagged another Grammy alongside musical acts Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, and Giovanni Hidalgo for the
Album’Album’ Global Drum Project” in the “Best Contemporary World Music Album’Album’ category.

Nigeria’s Olatunji won a Grammy Award in 1991, also in
the “Best World Music Album’Album’ category. Olatunji, now deceased, worked alongside thirteen other musicians on the Mickey Hart 1991 “Planet Drum” album,
scoring all fourteen acts a Grammy.

Owuor Arunga (Kenya, 3 Grammys)

Famous for his trumpeting skills in the popular Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’sLewis’s record, “Thrift Shop, which scored him two Grammy awards in 2014 in the categories” Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap Performance,” Arunga won his third Grammy for his contribution on the music groups’sgroups’s 2012 “”The Heist” album which scored a Grammy in 2014 for “Best Rap Album.”

glo-Youssou

Senegalese act Ndour bagged a Grammy award in 2005 in the “Best Contemporary World Music Album’Album’ category for the project ‘Egypt.’

Tems (Nigeria, 1 Grammy)

Nigerian artiste Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, scored a Grammy in 2023 in the “Best Melodica Rap Performance’ category for her contribution to American rapper Future’sFuture’s hit single “Wait For U.”

Richard Bona (Cameroon, 1 Grammy)
Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona won a Grammy in 2002 in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album category for the album “Speaking Of Now.”

Nigerian artiste Wizkid made headlines in 2021 when he won a Grammy award for his collaborative effort on the 2019 Beyoncé hit record “Brown Skin Girl.” Wizkid won in the ‘Best Music Video’ category.

The famous South African gospel music group is a three-time-winning Grammy award choir. They won the ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’ awards at the 2007 and 2008 Grammys.

In 2019, the Soweto Gospel Choir snagged another Grammy in the ‘Best World Music Album category for their album Freedom, recorded in 2018.

Nigeria’s Damini Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, clinched the award for the ‘Best World Music Album’ category at the 2021 Grammy Awards. Burna won for his Twice As Tall album.

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