Music Briefs: Afrobeat


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Nigeria was the birthplace of the Afrobeat musical style. Fela Kuti, a political activist and musician from Nigeria, created it by combining elements of highlife, jazz, funk, and West African percussion with traditional Nigerian music. As the genre gains popularity and shows signs of trending, we’re looking for fresh Afrobeat content this month.


Afrobeat History

Fela Kuti

The Nigerian singer, composer, and political activist Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was born in 1938. More commonly known as Fela Kuti, he is regarded as a founding member of the Afrobeat genre and one of its most influential figures.

We characterize Fela Kuti’s music by its fusion of traditional African rhythms, highlife, jazz, funk, and Western influences. He combined these elements to create the distinctive sound of Afrobeat.

In addition to his musical accomplishments, Fela Kuti was a well-known activist and outspoken opponent of the Nigerian government. He spoke out against oppression, corruption, and social injustice in Nigeria and Africa using his music and public platform.


Afrobeat Artists

Several well-known Afrobeat bands and performers, such as Fela Kuti & Africa ’70, Egypt 80 (another band formed by Fela), Antibalas based in the US, Kokoroko from London, or Afrobeat-inspired band The Souljazz Orchestra have had a significant influence on the genre.

Today, Afrobeat is a strong and prominent genre, representing African identity, social awareness, and musical inventiveness. It continues to inspire musicians and strike a chord with audiences worldwide because it blends many musical forms and is committed to tackling socio-political issues.


Genre Characteristics

Infectious rhythms, large horn sections, intricate polyrhythms, and socially conscious lyrics distinguish the sound of Afrobeat music. Call-and-response singing, Yoruba chants, and African percussion instruments like the talking drum are all included, along with more contemporary sounds like guitars, synthesizers, and brass instruments.

  • Complex Rhythms: Afrobeat is renowned for its deep, complex rhythms. It creates polyrhythmic patterns that are infectious and energizing by fusing traditional African percussion instruments with contemporary drum sets.
  • Horn Sections: Horn sections, frequently made up of trumpets, saxophones, and trombones, are a key part of Afrobeat. These horns play melodic lines, adding to the Afrobeat genre’s dynamic and colorful sound.
  • Social and Political Lyrics: Afrobeat lyrics frequently touch on social and political topics. Musicians use their platforms to spread the word about injustice, repression, and corruption.
  • Fusion of Genres: Traditional African music, jazz, funk, and Western influences are all included in the ingredients of Afrobeat. This fusion combines African rhythms with Western melodies and instrumentation to produce a distinctive and varied sound.


It’s vital to remember that because the genre has developed and expanded over time, these traits are not absolute nor exclusive to all Afrobeat songs. Afrobeat may be interpreted and reinterpreted by various musicians and bands, so please don’t limit yourself to these characteristics only, and feel free to experiment with all the elements of Afrobeat.


Pond5 Examples of Afrobeat

Listen to the tracks dedicated to the genre and get inspired for your next production.



Submission ideas

  • Submit tracks in length between 2 and 6 minutes.
  • The tempo should be between 90-150 BPM.
  • Experiment with a fusion of different genres.
  • Don’t forget to distinguish the track from Caribbean music, dancehall, etc.
  • Lyrics are optional.



  • Take advantage of the 50-keyword limit and add both broad and specific keywords. Please do not use a recognizable band or artist name!
  • We also encourage you to submit separate :15 and :30 versions of these tracks for social media use.
  • Don’t forget to add AFROBEATP5BRIEF among your keywords so we can track down and promote your content
  • Please note you can apply tags to existing tracks in your portfolio.

Check out more Music Briefs and get inspired for your next production.

Top Image: ‘The Tube’ Tv Show, Uk by ITV_Archive.