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What is African Blues?

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter


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How much do you know about African blues? Are you an avid fan or new to this style of music? Whether you are an aficionado or have little knowledge, we will bring you the rhythm today. 

African Blues

What is African Blues?

African Blues is a genre of music that blends traditional African rhythms and instruments with the blues. A style of music that originated in African-American communities in the United States. The genre emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as African musicians began incorporating elements of the blues into their music.

During the 60s and 70s African music in general also experienced a surge in interest and influence. Particularly with the emergence of Afrobeat and the global success of artists like Fela Kuti. Additionally, the period saw the rise of African independence movements. These often used music as a means of expressing cultural identity and political resistance.

What Is Rhythm?

Rhythm refers to the pattern of sounds and beats in music or speech that creates a sense of movement and flow.

How Have Roots & Gospel Music Had An Effect On African Blues?

Roots or gospel music have influenced this style of music by incorporating elements such as call and response, improvisation, and storytelling. These musical genres share a common history of African musical traditions, which have been adapted and transformed over time through cultural exchange and migration. Additionally, both roots and gospel music often address themes of struggle, hope, and faith.

Influential Players

One of the most influential African Blues players is Ali Farka Toure, a Malian guitarist and singer who is often credited with popularizing the genre. Toure’s music drew on traditional Malian music as well as the blues, and he became known for his distinctive fingerpicking style and soulful vocals.

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Other notable players include Boubacar Traoré, a Malian musician who began his career in the 1960s and has been described as the “Malian Robert Johnson,” and Tinariwen, a group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara desert who blend traditional Tuareg music with the blues.

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Blues Vs. Jazz 

African blues is characterized by the use of the pentatonic scale and call-and-response vocals. 

This type of music refers to the blues music that originated in African countries such as Mali, Senegal, and Mauritania. African blues often incorporates traditional African instruments and rhythms into the blues genre.

Jazz, on the other hand, originated in the United States and is characterized by improvisation and syncopated rhythms. 

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While there are similarities between the two genres, they have distinct differences. As for which came first, African blues is believed to have existed for centuries before jazz emerged in the early 20th century.


Overall, African Blues is a rich and diverse genre that continues to evolve and inspire musicians around the world. Listening to thus genre of music can be a unique and enriching experience as it offers a window into the rich cultural heritage of Africa and the African diaspora. It can also be a powerful tool for understanding the history and struggles of African people, as well as a source of inspiration and joy through its soulful melodies and rhythms. If you are a musician and you like to record or perform blues music, but need some help getting your music publishedpromoted or distributed, then please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you. 


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