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When African Country Artists Shaped American Sounds             

Beginning in the 1950s, African country music took its inspiration from its American counterpart.  Given considerable cross-pollination in the music world, it’s reasonable to think that American country music may have also been influenced by the sounds coming out of Africa. George Sibanda was one of many troubadours in 1950s Zimbabwe, but the first to achieve real fame after British ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey recorded his music for Gallotone Records. Sibanda mixed country, ragtime, marabi jive, and indigenous village songs into a signature new sound, scoring radio hits from South Africa to Kenya. Sibanda’s energetic, layered fingerpicking guitar playing became common practice regionally, even influencing greats like Congolese Jean Bosco Mwenda.