Get The

Fela Newsletter

Join the mailing list

Fela Kuti - Do you know the track "Colonial Mentality"? The second side of Fela's 1997 'Sorrow Tears And Blood' was written following the South African regime's murderous crushing of the Soweto uprising. Watch here for more history:
Fela Kuti - In case you missed the incredible new video from Childish Gambino last week, watch it now and read about the Fela inspiration in HuffPost:
Fela Kuti - Today’s #FelaFriday video features commentary on the hit track “Gentleman.” “I no be gentleman at all o / I be Africa man original / Africa hot, I like am so / I know what to wear, but my friends / don't know”
Fela Kuti - REMEMBERING FELA by Sobo Sowemimo An aburo was chatting with me this evening about how he shared with his friends on a WhatsApp group my affinity for Fela and his music. He then pushed his luck by asking that I “describe what Fela is” to me for him to further share with his friends. I knew what he was trying to make me do was to relive one of my reminiscences of my Fela-following years which I might have discussed with him in the past. Below are the few lines I sent to him now before setting out for home: Fela was (is) the visionary of our time. He came before his time and left taking away too much unrevealed talent. You want to call him a musical prodigy but you know it doesn’t truly capture his essence. If you followed him in the last ten years of his life like I did, you would appreciate that the much the world know of Fela’s music today is just a pinch of the potential the man still had stuffed inside of him by the time he left. His bare-faced activism clearly must have distracted him from fully espousing his all in music during his short life. Fela’s last (unrecorded) compositions (about ten epic songs that he regularly played at the Shrine but never got to record) showed the unbelievable new musical innovations he still had inside of him. In that respect, he was unlike most other enigmas of music that we know who, having advanced in age, would only perform their old popular songs. That was not Fela! Abami Eda kept writing, arranging and performing new and more complex music styles till he passed. He just couldn’t stop evolving. What musical entertainment can exhilarate a youth more than Fela’s live performance at the Africa Shrine? A spectacle! That usually was the experience. You had the best of dance, comedy (in form of Fela’s Yabis), singing, full stage lighting and a full complement of an ‘African Jazz orchestra’ on stage (with about 8 to 10 horns, 4 guitars, two keyboards, three akuba and konga drums, one drum set, about eight female backup singers and a minimum of four beautiful ladies wriggling their waists in the most seductive manner to the heavy groove of Fela’s music) in exchange for the pittance you paid as gate fee. We used to laugh over how guys who believed they were “happening” become dumb in awe of seeing Fela at the Shrine for the first time. No “omo ita” would see Fela face to face and not bow that “craze pass craze”. Was it Fela’s swag you want to talk of or his super athletic gait and figure? His manner of walk into the Shrine or unto the stage (after Baba Ani would have introduced him as “Abami Eda gidi gangan”) had this heroic suaveness to it. He would just glide past to the centre microphone with no awkwardness, holding a smoking stick of cigarette or his “igbo” to calmly say “everybody say yeah yeah!” to announce his arrival, and of course the whole place would have fallen into a trance. Fela was a perfectionist. He would not let a missing beat of any instrument go without correction. His ears were so naturally tuned to musical notes that even before he approached the stage, he would have noted from preliminary performances of his band any string of any of the four guitars that was not in tune and as soon as he gets on stage, you see him making adjustments immediately. I can still picture the way he usually pointed his fingers to his band men, moving them with the beat to sync their play correctly to the music; one of the reasons, most certainly, some of his fans call him “Choir Master”. I can’t really fully describe Fela in words for you to fully appreciate the man the way I do. He was just too much. For me, live musical entertainment ended with the transmutation of Fela. “Transmutation” because, as you know, Fela didn’t really die. He is very much alive in our hearts, in his music and in his message. ~ Ṣobọ Ṣowẹmimọ (04/05/18)
Fela Kuti - Today's #FelaFriday installment is in honor of 'Authority Stealing.' A "ferocious and lyrically exalted attack on the abuse of state power." Find out more and listen here:
Fela Kuti - Favorite Fela lyric?
Fela Kuti - Did you know the 'Live In Amsterdam' LP includes Femi Kuti - Official (Femi Anikulapo - Kuti) on alto in the horns section? Find out more from this week's #FelaFridays video with commentary from Aftrobeat historian Chris May.
Fela Kuti - Life hacker gets it. Read about why you should listen to Fela while you work.
Fela Kuti - Happy 420 Fela fans!! Take 20% off select merch + music in the Fela store this weekend, starting now. Shop here: Use code: FELA420
Fela Kuti - Today's #FelaFriday features The '69 Los Angeles Sessions LP! The re-issued album was recorded while Fela was living in Hollywood performing six nights a week at the Citadel de Haiti on Sunset Boulevard. Learn more here:
Fela Kuti - Daunted by the extensive Fela catalogue? Here's a good place to start, via Pulse Nigeria.
Fela Kuti - Beyoncé's Coachella performance was "a mélange of New Orleans and its horns, Houston and its chopped and screwed beats, Brooklyn and its rap velocity, Kingston and its dancehall, and Nigeria and the legacy of its dissenter, Fela Kuti." Read more about Beyoncé's Fela tribute in The New Yorker.
Fela Kuti - Fela Kuti's legacy lives on through today's artists, including Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, NAS to name a few! Read more on Pulse Nigeria.
Fela Kuti - This weekend, Beyoncé's band performed a rendition of the 1976 track, "Zombie," during her legendary set at Coachella. #yeahyeah #felaliveson