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The Unbound Alté: Nigeria’s Genre-Bending Music

To define popular music from Africa, one goes with Afrobeats or Afro fusion, acceptable blanket terms for new pop music from Africa, but in this very continent, there are very many sub-genres that help shape the modern urban sound even as we acknowledge the traditional genres that modern music borrow from. These genres are limitless, unique and lately have become even harder to box or classify, it’s a take it all for the lively African creative industry. In Nigeria Alté is the new sound taking this form.

Well, the idea of what the term is just as you thought; alternative, the movement being championed by a group of young musicians from the West African nation’s urban spheres. Lagos might arguably be the headquarters of the Afrobeats, but the ever creative young inhabitants of this city continue to invent and create more different music.

The birth of Alté is attributed to the likes of Odunsi The Engine, Wavy The Creator, Lady Donly and Santi among others, their music is a creation that fuses highlife, afrobeats, funk with dancehall, electronic, R&B, Hip Hop among others, their type of sampling weaves through the music eras of the 70s to the 80s, bumpy 90s to the active 2000s, to the inspired 2010s, each of their projects providing a unique perspective of how much the different eras feed into the Alté sound.

In their music the young artists project flamboyant dressing styles, daring view of the world, welcoming, color, youthfulness, self-expression, simplicity and absolute freedom. The music is heavy on funky synths, auto-tuned, wavy and blaring trap bass. Their video’s are a trek in urban circles, shifting lenses as the camera pans unrestricted.

The Alté scene might seem like a collective’s affair considering the fact that the acts pushing this genre have been long time collaborators but the new style of music is gaining fame by day thanks to the artists efforts, often utilizing platforms such as SoundCloud. Thanks to their focus on lifestyle and dressing each of these artists seem to be telling and owning their own work.

Lady Donli’s music carries that original, raw composition tied on Afrobeat perfectly fused with electronic soundscapes. Her latest body of work, a debut album dubbed ‘Enjoy Your Life‘ speaks to a different kind of fusion that speaks to the happy life and grand representation but recalls her background. In trying to define their own way of doing things the melancholic project which stretches only about 37-min is centered on no mystery but straight at enjoyment, uniqueness and originality with soul on the side.

While Lady Donli sits on a melancholy type of approach Wavy The Creator is a wild act, she sits on wavy structures as her name suggests, a daring exploit of life, she does not let her work be boxed, the fashion designer, also photographer encompasses all her creative sides in her music yet lets no one write her existence in anyway but hers.

The Alté is a music form that is currently centered among the urban youth, the ‘leaders of this cult’ are in the course to make the music a household experiment, by inspiring acceptance, selfexpression, gratification and freedom.


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