Fela, Burna Boy Named On ‘200 Greatest Singers of All Time’ List
American pop magazine, Rolling Stone, has included Afrobeat legend, Fela, and grammy award-winning singer, Burna Boy, on its list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time, which was released on Sunday.
Explaining how the list was put together, the magazine said, “This new list was compiled by our staff and key contributors, and it encompasses 100 years of pop music as an ongoing global conversation, where iconic Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar lands between Amy Winehouse and Johnny Cash, and salsa queen Celia Cruz is up there in the rankings with Prince and Marvin Gaye. Before you start scrolling (and commenting), keep in mind that this is the Greatest Singers list, not the Greatest Voices List.
On Fela, who was listed at the 188th spot, the magazine said, “Fela Kuti’s iconic songs of the 1970s and 1980s are sprawling orchestral instrumentals, an innovative swirl of African highlife, American soul, and jazz. Through his music, he shared an anti-colonialist, Pan-African.
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vision and challenged Nigeria’s corrupt military government, which routinely subjected him and those around him to immense harm. Yet it wasn’t just Fela’s lyrical rebellion that makes him so important — it’s the way his voice carried his vision; the way he sang, his tone.
commanding and direct, plain and firm. His stern but conversational melodies made his movement more accessible.”
Burna Boy was listed at 197 and the magazine said of him, “A Nigerian cultural giant, Burna Boy is the ambassador of Afrobeats as a global movement that can feel.
equally at home climbing the European charts and maintaining a subtle emotional connection with past African genres like highlife. Burna’s voice is sweet like caramel, but it can also soar on slickly produced tracks like his recent megahit ‘Last Last,’ or the 2019 gem ‘Anybody,’
amped up by deep bass accents and insanely sophisticated polyrhythms. His vocal lines find inspiration in everything from hip-hop and R&B to hooky pop and dancehall — the world is his playground. —E.L.”