Saturday, April 5, 2008

Remembering Africa's Fela Kuti

Fela Anikulapo Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, October 15, 1938 - August 2, 1997), or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.

He was ranked at number 46 in a list of the top 100 most influential musicians compiled by HMV.

The man who ex-Beatle Paule McCartney referred to as "the best band i've ever seen live...When Fela and his band eventually began to play, after a long crazy buildup, I just couldn't stop weeping for joy". McCartney wanted to use African musicians for the album he was working on but was denounced by Fela as "stealing Black Man's music".

A typical early swipe at the ruling elite was contained in the 1973 album GENTLEMAN, in which Kuti lampooned the black middle-class fetish for wearing western clothing in a tropical climate: ‘him put him socks him put him shoes, him put him pants him put him singlet, him put him trouser him put him shirt, him put him tie him put him coat, him come cover all with him hat; him be gentleman; him go sweat all over, him go faint right down, him go smell like shit’. Not surprisingly, the Nigerian establishment did not enjoy hearing songs like these—nor did they approve of Kuti's high-profile propaganda on behalf of igbo (Nigerian marijuana).

Listen to the man who shook up Nigeria during it's most brutal years. We miss you Fela Kuti.


Renegade Eye said...

See this.

ajohnstone said...

Socialist Banner has also blogged upon the relevance of Fela Kuti at

Good to see he is not forgotten outside his immediate environs

blackstone said...

wow thanks for that link renegade eye, interesting commentary on Fela. And ajohnstone i never knew there was a post on Fela at Socialist Banner, glad you also saw the importance in his work.

The Red Son said...

Comrades, I am glad that we can come together in our love of music. Fela's songs fill me with an incredible energy.

muslimahlocs said...

what can one say about fela. the ranking don't really do him justice. he told more truth in one song than a politician could tell in a lifetime.