Interested in contemporary African music that doesn't necessarily sound like "world music"? Then check out the StarAfrica Sounds contest now underway. The idea is to find the African "song of the year" for 2010. They've apparently weeded through many submissions/nominations and are now down to 60 finalists.
You can listen to all the songs and read about the artists here. At present, the winning song is "SOS Enfants" by Rwandan singer Manu Ragabo. I also recommend checking out Tanzania's Afrikali Band -- and they need your help, having only 62 votes to Ragabo's 40,012 votes as of now. You need to register to vote, but not to listen.
The five songs gathering the largest number of votes will be presented to a jury of prominent African artists who will choose the final winner.
The judges include:
- Toumani Diabaté, a musician and kora player from Mali;
- Dudu Sarr, an African DJ and the founder of the Afrotonic movement;
- Leslie Kasumba, a DJ and producer on the South African hip-hop scene;
- Thomas Gesthuyzen, the creator of the internet Website africanhiphop.com;
- Jason Curtis, South African music journalist.
Winning won't guarantee international success, but the top prize is the studio recording of an album. Other prizes are modest: 2nd and 3rd place receive a Nokia 6630 mobile telephone; 4th and 5th place receive a Logitech Quickcam Pro 4000 Webcam.