Africa chords by Toto



Africa chords and lyrics

||: N.C :|| x4
||: A G#m7 C#m7 | C#m7 :|| x4

| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 B/F# | A/E E/F# | 6/4 G#m7 A G#m7 C#m7 |
I hear the drums echoing tonight, but she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation.
| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 B/F# | A/E E/F# | 6/4 G#m7 A G#m7 C#m7 |
She’s coming in, 12:30 flight, the moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation.
| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 B/F# | A/E E/F# | 6/4 G#m7 A G#m7 C#m7 |
I stopped an old man along the way, hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies.
| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 | A G#m7 C#m7 | C#m7 |
He turned to me as if to say, “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”.

| F#m D | A E |
It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you.
| F#m D | A E |
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.
| F#m D | A E |
I bless the rains down in Africa.
| F#m D | A C#m7 | E F#m G#m |
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh).

||: A G#m7 C#m7 | C#m7 :||

| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 B/F# | A/E E/F# | 6/4 G#m7 A G#m7 C#m7 |
The wild dogs cry out in the night, as they grow restless, longing for some solitary company.
| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 B/F# | A/E E/F# | 6/4 G#m7 A G#m7 C#m7 |
I know that I must do what’s right, as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.
| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 | A G#m7 C#m7 | C#m7 |
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become.

| F#m D | A E |
It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you.
| F#m D | A E |
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.
| F#m D | A E |
I bless the rains down in Africa.
| F#m D | A C#m | E F#m G#m |
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh).

||: A G#m7 C#m7 | C#m7 :||

Solo

| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 B/F# | A/E E/F# | 6/4 G#m7 A G#m7 C#m7 |
| 4/4 B D#m7 | G#m7 | A G#m7 C#m7 | C#m7 |
Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for you.

||: F#m D | A E :||
It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you.
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.
I bless the rains down in Africa, I bless the rains down in Africa (I bless the rain).
I bless the rains down in Africa, (I bless the rains) I bless the rains down in Africa.
I bless the rains down in Africa (it’s gonna take some time).
| F#m D | A C#m7 | E F#m G#m7 |
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh).

||: A G#m7 C#m7 | C#m7 :||


About

Toto’s highlights could be condensed down to four massive hits in Hold The Line, Georgy Porgy, Rosanna, and Africa. Rosanna and Africa were both on the album Toto IV, released in 1982.

This must have been an intense year for the band members as they also featured as a session band on Michael Jackson’s legendary album Thriller, where they played on almost every song.

Africa reached #1 in the U.S, Canada, the U.K, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Switzerland.

The song has sold six times platinum and saw a resurgence in the late 2010s over social media. For whatever reason, Millennials absolutely love this song, especially in the U.K, maybe it’s because they grew up on David Attenborough!


Africa chord progression

Clearly composed on the piano, we are in for some seriously clever chords when we travel to Toto’s Africa for a lesson in modal interchange.

Let’s start with the chorus, which is clearly in the key of A, moving VI – IV – I – V. F#mDAE. Cleverly disguises the key center of A by placing it as the third chord of the progression.

Looking at the intro/instrumental section, we are treating A as Lydian as we move IV – III – VI. AG#mC#m. This is a modal interchange. A is both Ionian and Lydian in Africa, depending on the section.

Definitely worth mentioning is the end of the chorus where we move from A major to A Lydian (E major) by playing a C#m7, chord III in A, chord VI in E.

This is followed by E, chord V in A, chord I in E, and then F#mG#m, now we’re back in A Lydian as two minor chords a tone apart must be chords II – III. 

The verse starts off in B major, I – III – VI – I, or BD#m7G#m7B/F#. This makes our A chord a bVII, so when it comes in next, it feels like it has tension, before it becomes clear that we are playing the same chords as during the intro again.

The fact that the key center is a tone above the other two sections lifts the song harmonically, similar to what modulating at the end of a song does – genius!

Steve Lukather must have been on a coffee break when Africa was put together as this chord progression has keyboard player written all over it. He didn’t even get to play the solo. 

Maybe the success of the album, its two singles, and being in Michael Jackson’s band helped soothe the pain.


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