Did You Know Gambian Music Was A Blast In 2021?

Image illustrating the collaboration between the Gambian creative and ANEKED in the "duty to remember" project, focusing on human rights documentation.

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First, African music dominated globally in 2021, and Africans could not be prouder. But Gambian music has its high points too!

After a global halt of activities, including the musical activities in 2020, many Gambian artists cancelled their shows. They postponed some of their projects, but one could say it helped them improve their craft more. They invested in enhancing their digital music presents, and it paid off.

Sold out concerts, international collaborations, good music with crazy streaming numbers were the headlines of Gambian music in 2021.  When Gambian British rapper Pa Salieu shared a stage with grammy-winning artist Burna Boy, it left Gambians in wow.  Better still, when Jizzle featured Mr Ezi on “Be My Lover song” and hit Africa’s biggest playlist on Spotify was priceless. But nothing was more priceless than ST’s song with African music legend Baaba Maal “My People”.

Read on as we share with you some of the remarkable moments in Gambian music in 2021, the success attained, the breakthrough local artists had, and other wins concerning the country’s music.

The Concerts Were Lit! 

Gambian music witnessed terrific concerts in 2021 with great responses from fans. To begin with, January saw a show that will forever stay in the minds of Gambian music lovers by Nobles. The talented trio’s “Fill up Qcity” was full of energy, well put together, fantastic performance, a celebration of Gambia’s rich culture. The group, as always, came out unique with their incredible sense of fashion, dance moves that keep the fans wild, but most importantly, good music served. The night also saw the performance of the country’s legendary kora player–Jaliba Kuyateh, a very memorable moment as it is very uncommon for the new generation of Gambian artists to share a stage with older artists.

In February, award-winning artist ST Singhateh launched his third album– “Dinding Mansa” after pushing and pulling with the country’s authorities. The show attracted thousands of fans who sang, chanted and celebrated the artist from Brikama. 

Another concert that got everyone talking in 2021 was “Dada Bad boy” by Hussain. What’s On Gambia even reported that the artist from sukuta has broken the attendance record of Qcity. It features various artists in the industry who complimented the man’s performance of the moment–Hussian, and of course, it was business as usual, good music, good show, fantastic outcome.

Who will talk about Gambian concerts in 2021 and leave out Pa Salieu’s homecoming concert, not The Sisters Show, though? The BBC Sound 2021 winner–  paid homage to his roots, beginning, and home. Termed a “Beast” by Gambia photographer Alagie Manka,  Pa Salieu’s free concert saw real and raw talent from a Gambian youth who has been representing Gambian culture and people beyond the border of the West African country.

Numbers Don’t Lie

What is the music and music business if streaming numbers are not growing? Thanks to Plus Two Two Zero–a significant music PR firm that distributed most Gambian music in 2021, music from The Gambia reached far, and the number grew like crazy. “Be My Lover” by Jizzle made it to Spotify’s Biggest African playlist less than 24 hours after its release. That was a big deal for Gambian music. For Spotify wrappers 2021, Jizzle’s music was streamed 1.4 million across 170 countries, Tee 1144.8k across 128 countries, Attack roll out with 69.4k across 79 countries, one of the country’s most experienced artist GEE 45.8k and rising Gambian US-based artist Binta gathered 42k across 102 countries.

On youtube, numbers were served too. ST Singhateh’s “Cigareto” song hit a million views within a short period after it was released. The music, which talks about the harms of smoking and how addictive one can be to it, was one of the highlight songs from the Gambia in 2021. As always, Jizzle continued to serve fans with good visuals, and they watched it repeatedly on youtube, making his numbers rise. His song with Guinean artist Saifond “Jiwo Labadho” hit a million views within a short period as well.

 The Afro manding music duo Oboy and Gambian child became the first Gambian artists to receive YouTube’s Silver award, recognising them for passing 100,000 subscribers on the popular video-sharing platform. The duo is one of the most followed Gambian artists on the platform, with some of their videos amounting to 5 million views.

The year wrapped up with Attacks “Tarkayi” album on Audiomack top most-streamed new albums of the week (21 December 2021), while Uche  “king of my city” EP serves as the longest-charting albums (Gambian) on Apple music.

Now tell us that Gambian music didn’t do great in 2021.

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