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Different regional, racial, ethnic and cultural strains have all enriched the music of Africa. Arabic, French, and Portuguese colonialism left more marks than just scars -- all these elements found their way into African music over time. In the late 1950s, Miriam Makeba wowed American audiences with her beautifully intense voice; in the 1960s, her (then) husband Hugh Masekela's horn found massive success on stateside jazz and pop charts. Fela Kuti added political insight with American Funk, jazz and Nigerian music, becoming a world superstar in the 1970s. His fellow countryman, King Sunny Ade, brought his shimmering voice and guitar to traditional drum patterns and toured the world with Juju music. Paris became the hub of Afro-Pop, a very danceable melange of traditional and Western music, in the 1980s. A short time later, Paul Simon scored a massive hit with Graceland, an album recorded with various African artists who were stars in their own right -- Senegal's Youssou N'Dour, and South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Boyoyo Boys. Today, such vastly different music as the Gold Coast's Highlife, Mali guitarist Ali Farka Toure, and the North's Arabic Rai are each placed under the same broad umbrella of African music.

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New Releases this week for Africa

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