Fela Kuti

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Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti.jpg
Kuti in 1970
Background information
Birth nameOlufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti
Also known asFela Anikulapo Kuti
Born(1938-10-15)15 October 1938
Abeokuta, Western Region, British Nigeria
(now Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria)
Died2 August 1997(1997-08-02) (aged 58)
Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
  • activist
Instruments
  • Saxophone
  • vocals
  • keyboards
  • trumpet
  • guitar
  • drums
Years active1958–1997
Labels
Associated acts
Website felabration.net

Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), also professionally known as Fela Kuti, or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre and human rights activist. At the height of his popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa's most "challenging and charismatic music performers." [1]

Afrobeat is a music genre which involves the combination of elements of West African musical styles such as fuji music and highlife with American funk and jazz influences, with a focus on chanted vocals, complex intersecting rhythms, and percussion.

Contents

Biography

Early life and career

Reverend Israel and Funmilayo beside him, Dolu is behind and Fela in foreground, baby in arms is not named (most likely Beko), Olikoye is to the right 1940s family Ransome Kuti.png
Reverend Israel and Funmilayo beside him, Dolu is behind and Fela in foreground, baby in arms is not named (most likely Beko), Olikoye is to the right

Fela was born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti [2] on 15 October 1938 in Abeokuta, the modern-day capital of Ogun State [3] in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, then a city in the British Colony of Nigeria, [4] into an upper-middle-class family. His mother, Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, was a feminist activist in the anti-colonial movement; his father, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, an Anglican minister and school principal, was the first president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers.[ citation needed ] His brothers Beko Ransome-Kuti and Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, both medical doctors, are well-known in Nigeria. [5] Fela is a first cousin to the Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. [6]

Abeokuta City in Ogun State, Nigeria

Abeokuta is the largest city and state capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria. It is situated on the east bank of the Ogun River, near a group of rocky outcrops in a wooded savanna; 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of Lagos by railway, or 130 kilometres (81 mi) by water. As of 2006, Abeokuta and the surrounding area had a population of 449,088.

Ogun State State in Nigeria

Ogun State is a state in southwestern Nigeria. Created in 1976, it borders Lagos State to the south, Oyo and Osun states to the north, Ondo to the east and the Republic of Benin to the west. Abeokuta is the capital and largest city in the state. The state's appellation is "Gateway to Nigeria". It was created in February 1976 from the former Western State. The 2006 census recorded a total population of 3,751,140 residents.

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.

Fela attended Abeokuta Grammar School. Later he was sent to London in 1958 to study medicine, but decided to study music instead at the Trinity College of Music, the trumpet being his preferred instrument. [5] While there, he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a fusion of jazz and highlife. [7] In 1960, Fela married his first wife, Remilekun (Remi) Taylor, with whom he would have three children (Femi, Yeni, and Sola). In 1963, Fela moved back to the newly independent Federation of Nigeria, re-formed Koola Lobitos and trained as a radio producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. He played for some time with Victor Olaiya and his All Stars. [8]

Abeokuta Grammar School is a secondary school in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. It is currently located at Idi-Aba area, of Abeokuta. Often called the first grammar school in Nigeria, it is attended by students from all parts of Nigeria, the West Coast of Africa, South Africa, Europe and even Asia.

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

Highlife is a music genre that originated in present-day Ghana early in the 20th century, during its history as a colony of the British Empire. It uses the melodic and main rhythmic structures of traditional Akan music, but is played with Western instruments.

In 1967, Fela went to Ghana to think up a new musical direction. [9] That was when Kuti first called his music Afrobeat a combination of funk, jazz, salsa, Calypso and traditional Nigerian Yoruba music.. [9] In 1969, Fela took the band to the United States where they spent 10 months in Los Angeles. While there, Fela discovered the Black Power movement through Sandra Smith (now Sandra Izsadore), a partisan of the Black Panther Party. The experience would heavily influence his music and political views. [10] He renamed the band Nigeria '70. Soon afterwards, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was tipped off by a promoter that Fela and his band were in the US without work permits. The band performed a quick recording session in Los Angeles that would later be released as The '69 Los Angeles Sessions .

Ghana Republic in West Africa

Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2 (92,099 sq mi), Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.

Black Power is a political slogan and a name for various associated ideologies aimed at achieving self-determination for people of African descent. It is used primarily, but not exclusively, by African Americans in the United States. The Black Power movement was prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s, emphasizing racial pride and the creation of black political and cultural institutions to nurture and promote black collective interests and advance black values.

Black Panther Party Black revolutionary socialist organization

The Black Panther Party (BPP), originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was a revolutionary political organization founded by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton in October 1966 in Oakland, California. The party was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982, with chapters in numerous major cities, and international chapters operating in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s, and in Algeria from 1969 until 1972.

1970s

After Fela and his band returned to Nigeria, the group was renamed The Afrika '70, as lyrical themes changed from love to social issues. [7] He formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, a recording studio, and a home for the many people connected to the band that he later declared independent from the Nigerian state. According to Lindsay Barrett, the name "Kalakuta" derived from the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta dungeon in India. [5] Fela set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel, first named the Afro-Spot and later the Afrika Shrine, where he both performed regularly and officiated at personalized Yoruba traditional ceremonies in honour of his nation's ancestral faith. He also changed his name to Anikulapo (meaning "He who carries death in his pouch", with the interpretation: "I will be the master of my own destiny and will decide when it is time for death to take me"). [5] [11] He stopped using the hyphenated surname "Ransome" because it was a slave name.

Kalakuta Republic was the name musician and political activist Fela Kuti gave to the communal compound that housed his family, band members, and recording studio. Located at 14 Agege Motor Road, Idi-Oro, Mushin, Lagos, Nigeria, it had a free health clinic, and recording facility. Fela declared it independent from the state ruled by the military junta after he returned from the United States in 1970. The compound burned to the ground on February 18, 1977 after an assault by a thousand armed soldiers.

Carlton Lindsay Barrett, also known as Eseoghene, is a Jamaican-born poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist and photographer who since 1966 has lived in Nigeria, of which country he became a citizen in the mid-1980s. He initially drew critical attention for his debut novel, Song for Mumu, which on publication in 1967 was favourably noticed by such reviewers as Edward Baugh and Marina Maxwell ; more recently it has been commended for its "pervading passion, intensity, and energy", referred to as a classic, and features on "must-read" lists of Jamaican books. Particularly during the 1960s and 1970s, Barrett was a participant in significant drama and film projects in Britain, and became well known as an experimental and progressive essayist, his work being concerned with issues of black identity and dispossession, the African Diaspora, and the survival of descendants of black Africans, now dispersed around the world.

Black Hole of Calcutta black hole tragedy

The Black Hole of Calcutta was a small prison or dungeon in Fort William where troops of Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, held British prisoners of war for three days on 20 June 1756.

Fela's music was popular among the Nigerian public and Africans in general. [12] In fact, he made the decision to sing in Pidgin English so that his music could be enjoyed by individuals all over Africa, where the local languages spoken are very diverse and numerous. As popular as Fela's music had become in Nigeria and elsewhere, it was also very unpopular with the ruling government, and raids on the Kalakuta Republic were frequent. During 1972, Ginger Baker recorded Stratavarious with Fela appearing alongside Bobby Tench. [13] Around this time, Kuti became even more involved in the Yoruba religion. [14]

Nigerian Pidgin is an English-based pidgin and creole language spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. The language is commonly referred to as "Pidgin" or Broken. It can be spoken as a pidgin, a creole, slang or a decreolised acrolect by different speakers, who may switch between these forms depending on the social setting. A common orthography has been developed for Nigerian Pidgin which has been gaining significant popularity in giving the language a harmonized writing system.

Ginger Baker English rock drummer

Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker is an English drummer and a founder of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of "rock's first superstar drummer", while his individual style melds a jazz background with African rhythms. He is credited as a pioneer of drumming in genres like jazz fusion, heavy metal and world music.

<i>Stratavarious</i> 1972 studio album by Ginger Baker

Stratavarious is an album by Ginger Baker, the drummer from Cream, released by Polydor in 1972. Baker had many associations with an eclectic mix of musicians brought together under numerous band titles bearing his surname. Stratavarious is the only album that was released under the name of Ginger Baker without other associated names. The lineup on Stratavarious included Bobby Tench, vocalist and guitarist from The Jeff Beck Group, who plays guitar under the pseudonym Bobby Gass and the Nigerian pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela Ransome-Kuti who appeared at concerts with Baker at this time.

In 1977, Fela and the Afrika '70 released the album Zombie , a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic, during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother (whose house was located opposite the commune) [5] was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed had it not been for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the Dodan Barracks in Lagos, General Olusegun Obasanjo's residence, and to write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier", referencing the official inquiry that claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier. [15]

Fela and his band took up residence in Crossroads Hotel, as the Shrine had been destroyed along with his commune. In 1978, he married 27 women which are Kikelomo Oseyni,Folake Oladejo,Tejumade Adebiyi,Naa Lamiley,Sewaa Kuti, Omotola Osaeti, Omowunmi Oyedele, Alake Anikulapo Kuti, Shade Shodeinde, Adeola Williams,Najite Kuti ,Emaruagheru Osawe,Kevwe Oghomienor, Ihase Anikulapo, Adejonwo Iyabode Ogunitro,Bose Anikulapo Kuti,Lara Anikulapo Kuti, Suru Eriomola, Tokunbo Akran, Funmi Kuti, Omowunmi Afesumo ,Laide Anikulapo kuti, Ronke Edason ,Damiregba Anikulapo Kuti, Aduni Idowu, Omolara Shosanya Remilekun Taylor, many of whom were his dancers, composers, and singers. The marriage served not only to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Kalakuta Republic but also to protect Fela and his wives from false claims from authorities that Fela was kidnapping the women. [16] Later he adopted a rotation system of keeping 12 simultaneous wives. [17] The year was also marked by two notorious concerts, the first in Accra in which riots broke out during the song "Zombie", which led to Fela being banned from entering Ghana. The second was at the Berlin Jazz Festival after which most of Fela's musicians deserted him, due to rumours that Fela was planning to use the entire proceeds to fund his presidential campaign.

Despite the massive setbacks, Fela was determined to come back. He formed his own political party, which he called Movement of the People (MOP), in order to "clean up society like a mop". [5] Apart from being a mass political party, MOP preached "Nkrumahism" and "Africanism". [18] [19] In 1979, he put himself forward for President in Nigeria's first elections for more than a decade, but his candidature was refused. At this time, Fela created a new band called Egypt '80 reflecting the idea that Egyptian civilization, knowledge, philosophy, mathematics, and religious systems are African and must be claimed as such. As Fela states in an interview, "Stressing the point that I have to make Africans aware of the fact that Egyptian civilization belongs to the African. So that was the reason why I changed the name of my band to Egypt 80." [20] Fela continued to record albums and tour the country. He further infuriated the political establishment by dropping the names of ITT Corporation vice-president Moshood Abiola and then General Olusegun Obasanjo at the end of a hot-selling 25-minute political screed entitled "I.T.T. (International Thief-Thief)".

1980s and beyond

In 1984, Muhammadu Buhari's government, of which Kuti was a vocal opponent, jailed him on a charge of currency smuggling which Amnesty International and others denounced as politically motivated. [21] Amnesty designated him a prisoner of conscience, [22] and his case was also taken up by other human rights groups. After 20 months, he was released from prison by General Ibrahim Babangida. On his release he divorced his 12 remaining wives, saying that "marriage brings jealousy and selfishness". [17]

Once again, Fela continued to release albums with Egypt '80, made a number of successful tours of the United States and Europe and also continued to be politically active. In 1986, Fela performed in Giants Stadium in New Jersey as part of the Amnesty International A Conspiracy of Hope concert, sharing the bill with Bono, Carlos Santana, and The Neville Brothers. In 1989, Fela and Egypt '80 released the anti-apartheid Beasts of No Nation that depicts on its cover U.S. President Ronald Reagan, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and South African State President Pieter Willem Botha, that title of the composition, as Barrett notes, having evolved out of a statement by Botha: "This uprising [against the apartheid system] will bring out the beast in us." [5]

Fela's album output slowed in the 1990s, and eventually he stopped releasing albums altogether. In 1993, he and four members of the Afrika '70 organization were arrested for murder. The battle against military corruption in Nigeria was taking its toll, especially during the rise of Sani Abacha. Rumours were also spreading that he was suffering from an illness for which he was refusing treatment.

Death

On 3 August 1997, Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, already a prominent AIDS activist and former Minister of Health, announced his younger brother's death a day earlier from complications related to AIDS. However, there has been no definitive proof that Kuti died from complications related to HIV/AIDS, and much skepticism surrounds this alleged cause of death and the sources that have popularized this claim. [23] [24] For example, it is widely claimed that Fela suffered and may have possibly died from Kaposi's sarcoma, which is associated with HIV/AIDS infection. However, there are no known photos of Kuti with telltale lesions; moreover, Kuti was honored with a lying-in-state in which his remains were encased in a five-sided glass coffin for full public viewing. [25] More than one million people attended Fela's funeral at the site of the old Shrine compound. The New Afrika Shrine has opened since Fela's death in a different section of Lagos under the supervision of his son Femi.

Music

The musical style of Fela is called Afrobeat, a style he largely created, which is a complex fusion of jazz, funk, Ghanaian highlife, psychedelic rock and traditional West African chants and rhythms. Afrobeat also borrows heavily from the native "tinker pan". [26] Tony Allen (Fela's drummer of twenty years) was instrumental in the creation of Afrobeat. Fela once stated that "without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat".

Afrobeat is characterized by a fairly large band with many instruments, vocals and a musical structure featuring jazzy, funky horn sections. A riff-based "endless groove" is used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted West African-style guitar and melodic bass guitar riffs are repeated throughout the song. Commonly, interlocking melodic riffs and rhythms are introduced one by one, building the groove bit-by-bit and layer-by-layer. The horn section then becomes prominent, introducing other riffs and main melodic themes.

Fela's band was notable for featuring two baritone saxophones, whereas most groups were using only one of this instrument. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles and can be seen in funk and hip hop. His bands at times even performed with two bassists at the same time both playing interlocking melodies and rhythms. There were always two or more guitarists. The electric West African style guitar in Afrobeat bands are paramount, but are used to give basic structure, playing a repeating chordal/melodic statement, riff or groove.

Some elements often present in Fela's music are the call-and-response within the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. His songs were also very long, at least 10–15 minutes in length, and many reached 20 or even 30 minutes, while some unreleased tracks would last up to 45 minutes when performed live. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside Africa. His LP records frequently had one 30-minute track per side. Typically there is an "Instrumental Introduction" jam part of the song, perhaps 10–15 minutes long, before Fela starts singing the "main" part of the song, featuring his lyrics and singing, in which the song continues for another 10–15 minutes. Therefore, on some recordings one may see his songs divided into two parts, Part 1 (instrumental) followed by the rest, Part 2.

His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin English, although he also performed a few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards, but he also played the trumpet, electric guitar, and took the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa.

Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as the "Underground" Spiritual Game. Those who were disappointed in Fela’s performance, never really seen him perform before. Many expected him to perform like those in Western world. But the 1980's, Fela wasn’t interested in putting on a “show”. He’s European performance is a representation of what was relevant at the time and his other inspirations. [27] He attempted to make a movie, but lost all the materials to the fire that was set to his house by the military government in power. He thought that art, and thus his own music, should have political meaning. [14]

As Fela's musical career developed, so too did his political influence throughout the world. In turn, the religious aspect of his musical approach grew. Fela was a part of an Afro-Centric consciousness movement that was founded on and delivered through his music. In an interview found in Hank Bordowitz's Noise of the World, Fela states: "Music is supposed to have an effect. If you're playing music and people don't feel something, you're not doing shit. That's what African music is about. When you hear something, you must move. I want to move people to dance, but also to think. Music wants to dictate a better life, against a bad life. When you're listening to something that depicts having a better life, and you're not having a better life, it must have an effect on you." [28]

Fela's music and strong sense of sharing humanist and activist ideas grew from the environment he was in. In interview footage found in Faces of Africa on CGTN Africa, he speaks of a comparison between English love songs and his own music: "Yes, if you are in England the music can be an instrument of enjoyment. You can sing about love, you can sing about whom you are going to bed with next. But in my own environment, my society is underdeveloped because of an alien system on our people. So there is no music enjoyment. There is nothing like love. There is something like struggle for people's existence." [29]

Political views and activism

Activism

Fela Kuti was a political giant in Africa from the 1970s until his death. Kuti criticized the corruption of Nigerian government officials and the mistreatment of Nigerian citizens. He spoke of colonialism as the root of the socio-economic and political problems that plagued the African people. Corruption was one of the worst, if not the worst, political problem facing Africa in the 70s and Nigeria was among the most corrupt countries of the time. The Nigerian government was responsible for election rigging and coups that ultimately worsened poverty, economic inequality, unemployment, and political instability, which further promoted corruption and thuggery. Fela's protest songs covered themes inspired by the realities of corruption and socio-economic inequality in Africa. Fela Kuti's political statements could be heard throughout Africa.[ citation needed ]

Kuti's open vocalization of the violent and oppressive regime controlling Nigeria did not come without consequence. He was arrested on over 200 different occasions and spent time in jail, including his longest stint of 20 months after his arrest in 1984. On top of the jail time, the corrupt government would send soldiers to beat Kuti, his family and friends, and destroy wherever he lived and whatever instruments or recordings he had.[ citation needed ]

In the 1970s, Kuti began to run outspoken political columns in the advertising space of daily and weekly newspapers such as The Daily Times and The Punch , bypassing editorial censorship in Nigeria's predominantly state controlled media. [30] Published throughout the 1970s and early 1980s under the title "Chief Priest Say", these columns were extensions of Kuti's famous Yabi Sessions—consciousness-raising word-sound rituals, with himself as chief priest, conducted at his Lagos nightclub. Organized around a militantly Afrocentric rendering of history and the essence of black beauty, "Chief Priest Say" focused on the role of cultural hegemony in the continuing subjugation of Africans. Kuti addressed a number of topics, from explosive denunciations of the Nigerian Government's criminal behaviour; Islam and Christianity's exploitative nature, and evil multinational corporations; to deconstructions of Western medicine, Black Muslims, sex, pollution, and poverty. "Chief Priest Say" was cancelled, first by Daily Times then by Punch. Many have speculated that the papers' editors were increasingly pressured to stop publication, including by violence.[ citation needed ]

Political views

"Imagine Che Guevara and Bob Marley rolled into one person and you get a sense of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti."

Herald Sun , February 2011 [31]

Kuti was outspoken; his songs spoke his inner thoughts. His rise in popularity throughout the 1970s signaled a change in the relation between music as an art form and Nigerian socio-political discourse. [32] In 1984, he harshly criticized and insulted the then authoritarian president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. [33] One of his popular songs, "Beast Of No Nation", refers to Buhari as an animal in a madman's body; in Nigerian Pidgin: "No be outside Buhari dey ee, na krase man be dat, animal in krase man skin ii". Kuti strongly believed in Africa and always preached peace among Africans. He thought the most important way for Africans to fight European cultural imperialism was to support traditional African religions and lifestyles. [14] The American Black Power movement also influenced Fela's political views; he supported Pan-Africanism and socialism, and called for a united, democratic African republic. [34] [35] Examples of the famous African leaders he supported during his lifetime include Kwame Nkrumah and Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso. [18] Kuti was a candid supporter of human rights, and many of his songs are direct attacks against dictatorships, specifically the militaristic governments of Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a social commentator, and he criticized his fellow Africans (especially the upper class) for betraying traditional African culture.


Fela Kuti was also an outspoken critic of the United States. At a meeting during his 1981 Amsterdam tour, he "complained about the psychological warfare that American organizations like ITT and the CIA waged against developing nations in terms of language". He did not see why the terms 'Third World, "undeveloped" or even worse, "Non-aligned countries" should be used, as they all implied inferiority." [18]

Legacy

Since Fela's death in 1997, there has been a revival of his influence in music and popular culture, culminating in another re-release of his catalog controlled by Universal Music, Broadway and off-Broadway biographically based shows, and new bands, such as Antibalas, who carry the Afrobeat banner to a new generation of listeners.

In 1999, Universal Music France, under the aegis of Francis Kertekian, remastered the 45 albums that it controlled, and released them on 26 compact discs. These titles were licensed to countries of the world, except Nigeria and Japan, where Fela's music was controlled by other companies. In 2005, Universal Music USA licensed all of its world-music titles to the UK-based label Wrasse Records, which repackaged the same 26 CDs for distribution in the USA (replacing the MCA-issued titles there) and the UK. In 2009, Universal created a new deal for the USA with Knitting Factory Records and for Europe with PIAS, which included the release of the Fela! Broadway cast album. In 2013, FKO Ltd, the entity that owned the rights of all of Fela's compositions, was acquired by BMG Rights Management.

In 2003, an exhibition in the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York, titled The Black President Exhibition, debuted and featured concerts, symposia, films, and the works of 39 international artists. [36] [18] [37]

Thomas McCarthy's 2008 film The Visitor depicted a disconnected professor (Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins) who wanted to play the djembe. He learns from a young Syrian (Haaz Sleiman) who tells the professor he will never truly understand African music unless he listens to Fela. The film features clips of Fela's "Open and Close" and "Je'nwi Temi (Don't Gag Me)".

In 2008, an off-Broadway production of Fela Kuti's life entitled Fela! , inspired by Carlos Moore's 1982 book Fela, Fela! This Bitch of a Life, [38] [39] began with a collaborative workshop between the Afrobeat band Antibalas and Tony award-winner Bill T. Jones. The show was a massive success, selling out shows during its run, and garnering much critical acclaim. On 22 November 2009, Fela! began a run on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Jim Lewis helped co-write the play (along with Bill T. Jones), and obtained producer backing from Jay-Z and Will Smith, among others. On 4 May 2010, Fela! was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical for Bill T. Jones, Best Leading Actor in a Musical for Sahr Ngaujah, and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Lillias White. [40] In 2011 the London production of Fela! was made into a film. [18] On 11 June 2012, it was announced that FELA! would return to Broadway for 32 performances. [41]

On 18 August 2009, award-winning DJ J.Period released a free mixtape to the general public via his website that was a collaboration with Somali-born hip-hop artist K'naan paying tribute to Fela, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, entitled The Messengers.

In October 2009, Knitting Factory Records began the process of re-releasing the 45 titles that Universal Music controls, starting with yet another re-release of the compilation The Best of the Black President in the USA. The rest were expected to be released in 2010.[ needs update ]

Fela Son of Kuti: The Fall of Kalakuta is a stage play written by Onyekaba Cornel Best in 2010. It has had successful acclaims in 2010 as part of that year's Felabration celebration and returned in 2014 at the National Theatre and Freedom Park in Lagos. The play deals with events in a hideout a day after the fall of Kalakuta.

Fela Kuti is remembered as an influential icon who was brave enough to boldly voice his opinions on matters that affected the nation through his music. An annual festival "Felabration" held each year to celebrate the life of this music legend and his birthday.

The full-length documentary film Finding Fela , directed by Alex Gibney, received its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Fela Kuti statue at Ikeja, Lagos Fela Anikulakpo-kuti, off Allen roundabout, Lagos.jpg
Fela Kuti statue at Ikeja, Lagos

In addition, a movie by Focus Features, directed by Steve McQueen and written by Biyi Bandele, about the life of Fela Kuti was rumoured to be in production 2010, with Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role, but has not eventuated. [42]

Discography

Filmography

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Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, MON, otherwise known as Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, was a teacher, political campaigner, women's rights activist and traditional aristocrat in Nigeria. She served with distinction as one of the most prominent leaders of her generation. She was also the first woman in the country to drive a car. Born as Francis Abigail Olufunmilayo Thomas, she was the first female student at the Abeokuta Grammar School, which she attended from 1914 to 1917. Ransome-Kuti's political activism led to her being described as the doyenne of female rights in Nigeria, as well as to her being regarded as "The Mother of Africa." Early on, she was a very powerful force advocating for the Nigerian woman's right to vote. She was described in 1947, by the West African Pilot, as the "Lioness of Lisabi" for her leadership of the women of the Egba people on a campaign against their arbitrary taxation. That struggle led to the abdication of the high king Oba Ademola II in 1949.

Seun Kuti Nigerian Afrobeat saxophonist, singer, and bandleader of Egypt 80

Oluseun Anikulapo Kuti, commonly known as Seun Kuti, is a Nigerian musician, singer and the youngest son of famous afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Seun leads his father's former band Egypt 80.

The Ransome-Kuti family is a Nigerian Yoruba family noted for its contributions to Nigerian art, religion, education, medicine and politics.

Lemi Ghariokwu Nigerian artist

Lemi Ghariokwu, also known simply as Lemi, is a Nigerian artist, illustrator and designer who is most renowned for providing many of the original cover images for the recordings of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.

Sila and the Afrofunk Experience

Sila and the Afrofunk Experience is an Afrofunk band formed in 2003.

<i>Fela!</i> American Broadway musical

Fela! is a musical with a book by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis, based on music and lyrics by the late Nigerian singer Fela Kuti, with additional music by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean and additional lyrics by Jim Lewis. It is based on events in the life of groundbreaking Nigerian composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti. It portrays Kuti in the days when he was the target of 1,000 government soldiers assigned to end his public performances at the legendary Lagos nightclub The Shrine.

This is a discography for Fela Anikulapo Kuti, or simply Fela, a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.

Kola Ogunkoya is a Nigerian afrobeat musician who uses the term "Afro Gbedu" to describe his style of music, which includes jazz, highlife, Jùjú, funk and traditional Yoruba music.

<i>Confusion</i> (album) 1975 studio album by Fela Ransome-Kuti and the Africa 70

Confusion is a 1975 album by Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti and his Africa 70 band. It was arranged, composed, and produced by Kuti, who recorded the album after choosing to emphasize his African heritage and nationalism in his music. Confusion is a commentary on the confused state of post-colonial Lagos and its lack of infrastructure and proper leadership at the time. Kuti's pidgin English lyrics depict difficult conditions in the city, including a frenetic, multilingual trading market and inextricable traffic jams in Lagos' major intersections.

<i>Sorrow Tears and Blood</i> 1977 studio album by Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti and the Afrika 70 Organisation

Sorrow Tears and Blood is an album by Nigerian Afrobeat composer, bandleader, and multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti recorded in 1977 and originally released on the Nigerian Kalakuta label.

Soundway Records is a London-based independent record label founded and run by English DJ and music producer Miles Cleret. Since its initial release of a collection of Ghanaian music in 2002, it has released compilation albums of African, Caribbean, Latin, and Asian music from the 1950s to 1980s.

Omoyeni Anikulapo-Kuti is a dancer, singer and descendant of the Ransome-Kuti family. She pioneered the idea of Felabration, a music festival conceived to celebrate the life and contributions of her father Fela Kuti to the Nigerian society.

Rikki Stein is a British music industry executive known for being Fela Kuti's manager from 1983 till the music icon's death in 1997. He is the CEO of Kalakuta Sunrise Limited Knitting Factory Records, Partisan Records.

References

  1. Grass, Randall F. (1 January 1986). "Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: The Art of an Afrobeat Rebel". The Drama Review: TDR. 30 (1): 131–148. doi:10.2307/1145717. JSTOR   1145717.
  2. Ogunnaike, Lola (17 July 2003). "Celebrating the Life and Impact of the Nigerian Music Legend Fela". The New York Times . New York, NY: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  3. Hamilton, Janice. Nigeria in Pictures, p. 70.
  4. Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abeokuta" . Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. p. 27. ISBN   978-1-59339-837-8.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lindsay Barrett, "Fela Kuti: Chronicle of A Life Foretold", The Wire , September 2011. Originally published in The Wire 169 (March 1998). Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  6. Spencer, Neil (30 October 2010). "Fela Kuti remembered: 'He was a tornado of a man, but he loved humanity'". The Guardian . ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  7. 1 2 Olatunji, Michael (2007). "Yabis: A Phenomenon in the Contemporary Nigerian Music" (PDF). The Journal of Pan African Studies . 1: 26–46.
  8. David Ryshpan. "Victor Olaiya, All Star Soul International". Exclaim! . Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2009.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. 1 2 Albert Oikelome. "Stylistic Analysis of Afrobeat Music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti" (PDF). Analysisworldmusic.com. Retrieved 27 January 2013.[ dead link ]
  10. Tewksbury, Drew (13 December 2011). "Fela Kuti's Lover and Mentor Sandra Smith Talks About Afrobeat's L.A. Origins, as Fela! Musical Arrives at the Ahmanson". L.A. Weekly . Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  11. "Meaning of Anikulapo in". Nigerian.name. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  12. "Fela Anikulapo Kuti: The 'ghost' resurrects and the beat goes on, a preview by The Independence". Emnnews.com. Archived from the original on 17 January 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2011.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
    As of 15:38, Wednesday, September 18, 2019 (UTC)
  13. Bobby Gass credits Allmusic
  14. 1 2 3 Grass, Randall F. (1986). "Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: The Art of an Afrobeat Rebel". The Drama Review: TDR. MIT Press. 30 (1): 131–148. doi:10.2307/1145717. JSTOR   1145717.
  15. Matthew McKinnon (12 August 2005). "Rebel Yells: A protest music mixtape". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation . Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  16. See: Washington, Teresa N. (2014). The Architects of Existence: Aje in Yoruba Cosmology, Ontology, and Orature. Oya's Tornado. pp. 218–219. ISBN   978-0991073016.
  17. 1 2 Culshaw, Peter (15 August 2004). "The big Fela". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 Collins, John (5 June 2015). Fela: Kalakuta Notes. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN   9780819575401.
  19. Fela Kuti: Music is the Weapon. Directors Jean-Jacques Flori and Stephane Tchalgadjieff. 1982. Universal Import. March 2004.
  20. Fela Kuti and Egypt 80 Interview. Arsenal TV3 Catalonian TV 08 April 1987.
  21. Adenekan, Shola (15 February 2006). "Obituary: Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti". The Guardian. London.
  22. "Success stories". Amnesty International. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  23. "Fela Did Not Die of AIDS, Widow Insists." Daily Times Nigeria. 29 March 2015.
  24. See: Washington, Teresa N. (2014). The Architects of Existence: Aje in Yoruba Cosmology, Ontology, and Orature. Oya's Tornado. pp. 285n105. ISBN   978-0991073016.
  25. "Fela Anikulapo Kuti Lying In State." http://newafricashrine.blogspot.com/
  26. As Iwedi Ojinmah points out in his article "Baba is Dead – Long Live Baba,"
  27. Grass, Randall F. (21/1986). "Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: The Art of an Afrobeat Rebel". The Drama Review: TDR. 30 (1): 131. doi:10.2307/1145717.Check date values in: |date= (help)
  28. Bordowitz, Hank (2004). Noise of the World: Non-Western Musicians In Their Own Words. Canada: Soft Skull Press. p. 170.
  29. CGTN Africa (20 November 2016). Faces of Africa - Fela Kuti: The Father of Afrobeat, Part 1 (documentary series). CGTN Africa.
  30. This section includes material copied verbatim from "Chief Priest Say" Archived 4 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine , at chimurengalibrary.co.za, released under GFDL.
  31. Blanche Clarke, "Man of Beats Brings a Message with him", Herald Sun , 4 February 2011.
  32. Shonekan, Stephanie (1 January 2009). "Fela's Foundation: Examining the Revolutionary Songs of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and the Abeokuta Market Women's Movement in 1940s Western Nigeria". Black Music Research Journal. 29 (1): 127–144. JSTOR   20640673.
  33. Denselow, Robin (1 April 2015). "Nigeria's new president Muhammadu Buhari – the man who jailed Fela Kuti". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  34. Stewart, Alexander (5 December 2013). "Make It Funky: Fela Kuti, James Brown and the Invention of Afrobeat". American Studies. 52 (4): 99–118. doi:10.1353/ams.2013.0124. ISSN   2153-6856.
  35. Hadj-Moussa, R.; Nijhawan, M. (9 July 2014). Suffering, Art, and Aesthetics. Springer. ISBN   9781137426086.
  36. "Black President: the Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti", New Museum Digital Archive.
  37. Koirala, Snigdha. "—Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, New Museum of Contemporary Art". BOMB Magazine. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  38. Bossler, Gregory (13 July 2012). "Fela!: Review Roundup". Gregorybossler.com. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  39. Reedy, R. Scott (3 May 2012). "Theatergoers can't stay in their seats during 'Fela!'". Marshfield Mariner. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  40. Tony Award Nominations, 2010 Archived 9 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  41. Gans, Andrew, and Adam Hetrick. "Fela! Will Play Limited Summer Return Engagement on Broadway". Playbill. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2012.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  42. Bettinger, Brendan (5 May 2010). "Chiwetel Ejiofor Fela Kuti Steve McQueen-Directed Biopic". Collider.com. Retrieved 1 October 2011.

Further reading