Country music is a genre of popular music connected especially with the southeastern region of the United States. In these agrarian regions, the country music evolved in the 1920s as a combination of the cowboy culture based folk music and the blues music. Although we do not consider country music as typical African country tunes, the environments of some African countries, especially those extensively colonized by Europeans, were not so different from that in the United States: farms, endless plains, horses… It is not so surprising that the country music gained popularity in Africa, and especially in South Africa. Here is the list of some African Country Tunes. As any song list, it is subjective and it is highly probable that your own list would differ here or there. Nevertheless, if you are not familiar with any of the famous African country tunes, you can take this change and meet some of the African country music stars!
10. A Tear Fell by Sally Vaughn
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In South Africa, Sally Vaughn is called “Mama Country”. She was collecting awards for decades and in summer 2016, she received a lifetime achievement award for her tremendous contribution to Country Music in South Africa. If you want to get a better knowledge of African country tunes, there is no better artist to start with.
9. Before the Next Teardrop Falls by Bobby Angel
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Bobby Angel is a famous South African country singer who made his greatest success with his cover of Waylon Jennings´ and Billy Shaver´s song “You Asked Me To”. This hit made it to the top of the official South African chart back in 1975. For this list, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” was chosen. You will probably know this country song in versions by Dolly Parton or Freddy Fender. So try that of Bobby Angel and you won´t be disappointed.
8. Little Rosa by Tommy Dell
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Tommy Dell is another South African singer and cabaret artist who is well known as an interpret of one of the most famous African country tunes – “Teddy Bear”. We recommend you to listen to another of Tommy Dell´s hits, “Little Rosa”.
7. What´s Your Mama’ss Name, Child? By Lance James
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Lance James was born in 1938 but is still an active artist both on the stage and as a radio entertainer. During his more than 50 years career, he received numerous awards including the Life Time Achievement Award and performed in many countries outside South Africa like Ireland, Germany Spain, UK or the United States.
6. Gee Haar ‘N Roos by Cora Marie
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Cora Marie was a famous female African country singer active between 1974 and 1994. Gee Haar ‘N Roos (To Give a Rose) is her greatest hit and it became one of the best-known African country tunes. Cora Marie died in 1994 aged 41 because of cancer. In 2015, many artists paid tribute to her on two big concerts in the Cape Town and Pretoria.
5. Tiny Bubbles by Billy Forrest
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Billy Forrest is a stage name of William Charles Boardman. During his long and fruitful career, he was awarded many times and interpreted several hits including “Lazy Life” or “Tiny Bubbles”. Billy Forrest is also a musical producer and promoter of South African music.
4. Deck of Cards by Jody Wayne
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Jody Wayne is more an international artist as he was born in India to Canadian parents who then moved to England and then to Durban in South Africa. He played in several bands including “Little Jo & The Travelers” or “Guys & Dolls”. Most famous tune by Jody Wayne is probably “The wedding Song”. “Deck of Cards” is another of his hits.
3. Ek Is So Lief Vir Jou by Gert Van Tonder
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Gert van Tonder is a South African singer and actor who is well known for his albums like “Boerneef op sy beste” or “Ek Het U Nodig”. As can be seen, Gert van Tonder sings mainly in Afrikaans. Gert van Tonder was born in 1941 and is still active in the musical field.
2. Rosie by Gene Rockwell
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Gene Rockwell was successful from his teenage years. At the age of 15, he won a talent competition in Durban and was an active musician for his whole life. He played in bands like “The Blue Angels” and “The Falcons”. He is an interpreter of one of the most successful African tunes – “Heart”. Gene Rockwell passed away in 1998.
1.Silver Threads and Golden Needle by Barbara Ray
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Named the “Queen of Country”, Barbara Ray is an another Lifetime Achievement Award laureate and one of the most famous African country singer. She earned more than 22 Gold records and was awarded several prizes.
This list is not a complete list of African country tunes but it is definitely a good start in a quest for exploring it. If you are a country music fan, don´t wait and listen! African savannahs can as romantic as American prairies!