Next Episode of Africa: A Journey into Music is
Rita Ray travels to Mali, Nigeria and South Africa in search of the timeless ancient rhythms, instruments and harmonies that underpin the popular music from these three fascinating countries. She discovers how much of the music we listen to in the west is rooted in the enduring influence of the musical traditions from the African continent.
DJ and broadcaster Rita Ray travels to Nigeria, home of some of the most influential African music of the last 60 years. The country's extraordinary polyrhythms have powered highlife, funk and Afrobeat for decades, and can still be heard in modern pop music.
Travelling to Lagos and beyond, Rita traces the importance of rhythm in Nigeria's music and discovers the many different musical styles it has created, from Yoruba juju music, to acoustic singer-songwriters and world-class pop.
DJ and broadcaster Rita Ray travels to South Africa, home to distinctive vocal harmonies that have travelled all over the world. Visiting Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, she discovers the extraordinary songs and harmonies that have given this country a voice abroad. They have often carried messages about inequality and injustice at home, resulting in beautiful music with a real sense of purpose.
South Africa is a diverse nation, and each tribal group has its own musical traditions. Cutting-edge artists sing in ancient languages such as Xhosa, migrant workers stave off homesickness with traditional singing and dancing in the street, whilst four-part harmonies imported from the west are heard in every church, but given an unmistakable South African twist.
In the last of the series Rita Ray travels to Mali in West Africa, home to a deep musical culture and ancient instruments that are the hallmark of Mali's sound, plus a well of talent that has drawn in artists and producers from around the world to collaborate with musicians there. Whilst the country has been rocked by insurgency, leading to a ban on music in some areas, Rita finds that their rich musical heritage goes hand in hand with everyday life in in the 21st century.
Rita speaks to Garba Touré, the guitarist from Songhoy Blues, who last year performed at Glastonbury Festival, 6 Music Festival and on BBC Two's Later 25 With Jools Holland. The band fuse western influences with Malian melodies and were formed in the Malian capital Bamako in 2012, having fled armed militants in the north of the country.
Rita Ray(Rita Ray)
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