5 New International Artists With North African and Arab Roots

5 New International Artists With North African and Arab Roots

Je ne parle pas français, 2018, by Namika. (Credit: Amazon Music)

In a time of Spotify and Anghami playlists, the face of the global music industry is quickly changing, giving room for unconventional and different artists from various backgrounds to take the stage. Today, you can sometimes hear more than one language in one song, connecting all the diverse musical and cultural influences together.

These are some of the emerging artists in the global music scene coming from Egypt, Algeria and the Arab world.

1. Lolo Zouai (French-Algerian)

Songs to Listen to: High Highs to Low Lows, Desert Rose, Brooklyn Love

Brooklyn Love by Lolo Zouai (Credit: Lolo Zouai’s Twitter)

Born in Paris to French and Algerian parents, before relocating to San Francisco and then New York, the young 24-year old singer is a rising star with over 28 million streams on Spotify, including 10 million for her single ‘High Highs to Low Lows’. Featured as “one to watch” by The Guardian in April 2019, the singer brings a fresh new sound, combining French, English and Arabic lyrics and influences.

2. Binti (Egyptian-Belgian)

Songs to Listen to: I Feel it Coming, Loaded, My Sun My Moon

Binti. (Credit: Binti’s Facebook page)

Belgian-Egyptian group of six sisters ‘Binti’, which means “my daughter” or “my girl” in Arabic, is a femme band inspired by many different genres, from reggae to blues. Their latest single, ‘I  Feel it Coming’, experiments with a different art rock sound, exploring unconventional elements.

3. Tamino (Egyptian-Belgian)

Songs to Listen to: Habibi, Cigar, Crocodile

Tamino. (Credit:

Grandson of renowned Egyptian singer and movie star Muharram Fouad, Tamino’s voice carries a star quality to it that hits you with the first listen. In late 2018, the 23-year old released his first full-length album, ‘Amir’. The BBC described him as “The New Sound Of The Nile”.

4. Wafia (Iraqi-Syrian-Australian)

Songs to Listen to: Hurts, I’m Good, 83 Days

Hurts (feat. Louis The Child & Whethan). (Credit: Napster)

With nearly 300 million streams on Spotify, electro-pop singer Wafia is growing to become one of the industry’s main artists with her dreamy yet fun beats, merged with some soulful elements. She also recently signed with label giant Atlantic Records, with an EP that is due out this year.

5. Namika (Moroccan-German)

Songs to Listen to: Je ne parle pas français, Lieblingsmensch, Phantom

Album Que Walo by Namika, 2018 (Credit: Amazon)

Merging Oriental Moroccan sounds with modern pop, as well as singing in various languages, Namika is a sound that is most certainly fresh, global and distinctive. Her North African roots are apparent in almost all of her songs, which is what makes her exciting to listen to. Her debut album Nador, which was released in 2015, reached number thirteen in the German album charts, and her single Lieblingsmensch climbed to number one after eight weeks.

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