Saturday, December 17, 2011

D’Banj, Femi fail to make CNN Africa’s best

A list of the biggest music stars in Africa, released recently by global news corporation, CNN, excludes afro beat star and three-time Grammy nominee, Femi Kuti, and best selling act, D’banj.

According to the top 10 list, compiled based on fame, fan base and the number of concerts the artistes have performed around the world, songstress, Asa, comes tops while Tuface Idibia and Nneka are third and fourth respectively. Somalian singer, K’naan, is rated second biggest African music star while Rocky Dawuni (Ghana), Amadoue et Mariam (Mali), Youssou N’Dour (Senegal), Salif keita (Mali), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa) and Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde Island) respectively take up the other slots.

Interestingly, this list is coming barely two weeks after Femi Kuti got his third Grammy Awards nomination in the World Album category. It is also coming in a year when D’banj went international with his signing on to American rapper, Kanye West’s GOOD Music label.

Speaking with Femi’s older sister, Yeni Kuti, who holds the fort when he is on his numerous playing tours, says, "I have not seen the list but I’m sure everybody has their criteria for nominating artistes for certain honours and awards. Forbes released theirs and Femi was there; Grammy, which is the world’s most recognised music awards, has also nominated him for a record third time and yet you say he is not among Africa’s best. I wonder who then is.

Which of the people on the list has a Grammy nomination or which of them tours the world as much as Femi? It is their decision and we can’t query it."

In the same vein, artiste manager for Mo’Hits, Sunday Are, who incidentally bought Asa her first set of musical instruments, also denies seeing the list. He affirms, however, "Getting any international honour is a matter of time. Tuface Idibia has paid his dues and merits being on the list, so has Asa whose success delights me for very personal reasons.

What matters most to us at Mo’Hits is that there are Nigerians on the list which is a testament to how well we are growing musically in the eyes of the world. And if you meet with D’banj, he would express delight at the fact that there are three Nigerians on that list, it is not easy. D’banj is a global brand and we are working towards being better."

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