Netflix's 'Queen Sono' explores the untapped music of Africa and makes for quite a groovy playlist

As the streaming network drops its first African original, we are not only delighted to see powerful regional content but are also grooving to the music featuring some of the continent's best musical talents


                            Netflix's 'Queen Sono' explores the untapped music of Africa and makes for quite a groovy playlist
Young Fathers, Nadia Nakai and Babatunde Olatunji (Getty Images, IMDb, Wikicommons)

Music has a strange way of creeping into your skin and making you connect to the culture and people it originates from. When we talk about music from the continent of Africa, what resonates with us is folk music from its different communities.

Although there are some accomplished modern musicians across Africa who have made it to the global platform, little is known about the local talent who are making it big right at home.

It’s time the world knows about them. Thanks to the latest spy-thriller series 'Queen Sono', you can now dive deep into the contemporary music scene of South Africa and other African nations.

The music of 'Queen Sono' spans all genres and evokes the right feels at the right time. Every song is just about right to enhance your experience of the story and elevate the highlighting moments in the series.

If there are edgy, slick, modern R&B, rap and catchy pop, then there are also soulful instrumental and classic folk artistes reprised. Shot across 37 different locations in Africa, there's no question that there is endless opportunities to explore the music scenes of different regions of the continent.

And so it does. You can expect different genres of music from various projects and artistes from a diverse range of African countries. Overall, 'Queen Sono's soundtrack encompasses the right elements of great musical synergy and covers all the bases of a great playlist.

Without getting too much into theoretical details, let's jump right into some of the artistes and musical projects featured in the series, and why you should listen to them.

Sauti Sol – 'Sambo Party'

Formed in 2005, the Kenyan afro-pop band comprises vocalists Bien-Aimé Baraza, Willis Chimano and Savara Mudigi. The young musical group recently signed up with Universal Music and one of their songs ‘Sambo Party’ made its way to the Netflix series. Take a look at the inspirational song, all the way from Nairobi right here.

Nadia Nakai – 'Big Pun'

The popular South African rapper, musician, and songwriter shot to fame with her album 'Nadia Naked'. One of the hit singles from the album, 'Big Pun' is featured in 'Queen Sono' as the series' official soundtrack and as the background track for introducing Pearl Thusi as Queen Sono. Hear Nadia's 'Big Pun' here.

Babatunde Olatunji – 'Iyanu'

A classic Nigerian drummer and music artist, Babatunde Olatunji recorded this track in 1986 and was featured in Mickey Hart's 'Planet Drum' which won the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 1991. Olatunji contributed to the clapping and vocals for the same. Hear the legend at a live concert from 1985 here.

Simi – 'Joromi'

Nigerian pop star, Simisola 'Simi' Ogunleye’s song ‘Joromi’ finds itself in the background of 'Queen Sono's second episode 'Dying is Sore'. The single was a part of the artist’s second album 'Simisola' and also won the Best Recording of The Year at the Headies Award 2018. Give a listen here.

Kayus Bankole – Toy

The British-born Nigerian artist had his recent composition featured in the series as well. In 2018, he recorded the song 'Toy' with his Scotland-based band, Young Fathers, coupled by a very interesting video.

The song finds itself in the background of 'Queen Sono's third episode 'The Devil's Toys', which kind of fits in perfectly with the episode's theme. Another composition of this band, features in the season finale episode 'State of Emergency'. You can check out the official music video of 'Toy' here.

Other local musicians and artistes featured in the Netflix series are twin sisters Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu known as the Lijadu Sisters, Sampa The Great (Final Form), Ricky Rick (Boss Zonke), Inge Beckmann (Korreltjie Sand), Tshiamo Rametse (Tshinataho), Caiphus Semenya (Angelina), and Okzharp and Manthe Ribane (Dear Ribane).

Others are Khulz (Qhoma), Msaki (Dreams), Moonchild Sanelly (Dance Like A Girl), Alogte Oho and His Sounds of Joy (La Ta'aba), Bhusi Mhlongo (Yehlisan'umoya Ma-Afrika), and Alice Phoebe Lou (Grey).

While you might not be able to dig up each of these artistes and their works, you can definitely hear the ones available on YouTube and other music apps and groove away through the weekend to the rhythm and beats of Africa.

'Queen Sono' is now streaming worldwide on Netflix.

The soundtrack for the show can be found on Apple Music and Spotify

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