How afrobeats grew into one of the most popular music genres in the Netherlands

Rewrite this contentANPNOS News•Saturday, 6:00 PM•Amended yesterday, 10:03Soehayla Halouchieditor onlineSoehayla Halouchieditor onlineBurna Boy will be in the Gelredome next summer. He is announced as the first African artist to headline in a stadium in the Netherlands. Not surprising when you realize that afrobeats, one of the genres originating from West Africa, have been loved by young people for some time now. The fusion of West African pop music and influences from hip-hop, house and R&B is extremely popular.Partly due to collaborations with major Western artists such as Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran, the genre has become more well-known in recent times. In the Netherlands, a young audience in particular has discovered the genre.Afro sound increasingly popularThe popularity of afrobeats is also due to the influence of major pop and hip-hop artists in the Netherlands. Frenna, one of the most popular artists, whose roots lie in Ghana, and the rap group SFB of which he is a member, among others, have had the afro sound in their hits for years. You can also hear that from other artists who are listened to a lot here, especially by young people, such as Drake.You will notice that the genre is popular on streaming platforms and TikTok, where the song Love Nwantiti by the Nigerian artist Ckay was streamed more than 15 billion times, but also at concerts and festivals.The previous times that the Burna Boy from Nigeria performed on stages here, the halls were sold out in no time. Last year, the international superstar performed at the sold-out Lowlands festival, among other places.Last Last by Burna Boy, a big hit last summer:Other Nigerian singers who regularly score international hits, such as Wizkid and Rema, also performed in the Netherlands last year. In De Kuip she and Ckay performed at the largest urban festival in Europe, Oh My.Ckay previously told NOS: “It feels good to be part of a culture that is now also receiving more attention worldwide. It doesn’t happen often that something that belongs to a certain culture becomes popular all over the world. So that feels very awesome.”The Dutch audience at Oh My also recognized this feeling of Ckay: “The music connects you with the culture and with everyone who comes,” a visitor told NOS. At the festival, young people from different backgrounds seemed to enjoy the performances: “All kinds of cultures listen to it and I think that’s only good, the rhythm makes everyone move automatically.” A another boy explained how the music reminds him of his childhood: “I grew up with this sound.”Musical holdDutch radio stations have also discovered the genre, which means that its popularity extends beyond just young people. The fact that Burna Boy will soon be in the Gelredome does not surprise Fernando Halman, radio DJ at FunX: “It is impossible not to love Burna Boy. His catchy tunes Ye, On The Low in Last Last immediately grab you and hold you in a musical hold. He stood out even more internationally when he also picked up a Grammy in 2021 for his fifth album.””This music creates a connection,” Halman adds. “One of the magical aspects of music is that you can bring people together from different corners of the world by falling in love with a shared feeling.”Any new subculture in music that is going to have a chance to succeed has to come from young people.Niels Nieuborg, producer under the name Arp FriqueNiels Nieuborg, who produces music under his pseudonym Arp Frique, draws inspiration from this genre, among other things. “Arp Frique is also ahead Africa.”Nieuborg also notices that African music is increasing in popularity: “But not only afrobeats, also amapiano (a house genre, ed.) is becoming increasingly popular here.” This is also due to the club culture, he explains: “It is used as club music, among other things, so it can go viral very quickly.”But whether listeners immediately think of the African roots when they hear the music, Nieuborg doubts: “Not everyone realizes that it comes from West Africa. You are in the club and you hear afrobeats and amapiano and it just sounds good, but true it doesn’t matter to everyone.”Development starts with young peopleYoung people are at the forefront of developments in music, says Nieuborg. He also expects afrobeats to come from a young movement, become popular in that group and then conquer the whole of the Netherlands.Nieuborg: “That has always been the case. Every new subculture in music – if it wants to succeed – must come from the younger people. If you go all the way back in time, jazz was also a thing – a kind of barbaric wild music that stood out against classical music of the ‘sophisticated listener’.”Calm Down by Nigerian artist Rema, a worldwide hit last summer, also in the Netherlands:
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