Topic: Fela’s Life

British Library Felabration Thrills a Sold Out Crowd!

British Library Felabration Thrills a Sold Out Crowd!

A sold out crowd gathered for the British Library’s “Late at the Library: Felabration!” on October 16th, and fans worldwide tuned in to watch the livestreaming event. Dele Sosimi’s Afrobeat Orchestra got Felabration started with the energy rising as Tony Allen, 2face Idibia, Laura Mvula, Shingai Shoniwa, Afrikan Boy, Terri Walker, The Floacist, Bumi Thomas, Audrey Gbaguidi, Ed Keazor, The Trinity College Afrobeat Ensemble and DJ Kochi Sakai joined the party! Rikki Stein, organiser of the event tells us “The vibe in the library was electric and the packed audience were beside themselves and didn’t budge an inch til the very end!”

The British Library event was part of official Felabrations around the world which are the annual festival of music and arts commemorating the life and times of Nigerian’s foremost musical icon, the late great Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The idea and concept of Felabration as an annual celebration of Fela’s music, life and times, originated from his eldest child Yeni who conceived it in 1998.

‘Late at the Library: Felabration!’ is part of the British Library’s ‘West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song’ exhibition which opened on the same day (http://www.bl.uk/events/west-africa-word-symbol-song). The exhibition uses beautiful manuscripts, sound, film and more, tracing the written and oral cultural history of West Africa for the past three centuries.

Photo credit: Gavin Mills


Felabration Live Stream

Felabration Live Stream – Tune in at 21:00 GMT (4pm EDT) October 16th!

Super-charged only begins to describe the upcoming sold out Felabration at the British Library on October 16, 2015! The British Library line up that includes The Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, Tony Allen, 2face Idibia, Laura Mvula, Shingai Shoniwa, Afrikan Boy, Terri Walker, The Floacist, Bumi Thomas, Audrey Gbaguidi, Ed Keazor, The Trinity College Afrobeat Ensemble and DJ Kochi Sakai! Tune it at 21:00 GMT at the link below to be a part of it all!

The link below will be active at 21:00 GMT (4pm EDT) on Friday, October 16th!

Click here to LIVESTREAM FELABRATION!

‘Late at the Library: Felabration!’ is part of the British Library’s ‘West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song’ exhibition which opens on the same day (http://www.bl.uk/events/west-africa-word-symbol-song). The exhibition uses beautiful manuscripts, sound, film and more, tracing the written and oral cultural history of West Africa for the past three centuries. ‘Late at the Library: Felabration!’ includes free access (until 10pm) to the exhibition.

As a warm up to Felabration, from 18:45 to 20:00, in the Conference Centre of the British Library, Nigerian artist and graphic designer Lemi Ghariokwu talks about creating the iconic sleeves for most of Fela Kuti’s albums, and their close personal and artistic relationship, which gave him an instinctive, complex and highly creative response to the music and its social and political messages.
Tickets (£5) + info: http://www.bl.uk/events/lemi-ghariokwu-art-and-afrobeat

And for those wanting to dig deeper, check out the screening of Alex Gibney’s 2014 documentary ‘Finding Fela’, followed by live conversations with Fela’s manager Rikki Stein, as well as Dele Sosimi, Lemi Ghariokwu, 2face Idibia, Tony Allen and other special guests, on Saturday, 17 October, 14:00, at the Conference Centre in the British Library.
Tickets (£8) + info: http://www.bl.uk/events/finding-fela-plus-qanda


Fact Magazine Celebrates the Life Of Fela Kuti!

Fact Magazine Celebrates the Life Of Fela Kuti!

Fact Magazine celebrates the life of Fela Kuti in it’s story “Remembering the Shrine, Fela Kuti’s Shamanic Temple and Political Soapbox” by Robert Barry. The story includes poignant quotes from Femi Kuti on the significance of the history of the Shrine.

“Femi recalls returning home one day, after having moved back in with his father as a teenager, to find his house on fire: “I was coming back from school and I saw all the soldiers there. I ran back to tell my mother that the house was burnt.” Fela’s 75-year-old mother was thrown out of a first floor window and died a few months later from the injuries. Her son responded by delivering a coffin to the official residence of the Head of State, Olesogun Olesanjo.

An even more brutal raid came about four years later. “They picked us up at the Shrine and took us all to the police headquarters,” says Femi. “That’s when I saw him. They had handcuffed his hands to his legs and they threw him in the back of a Land Rover and he was bleeding from head to toe. They beat him so much he remembered his spirit leaving his body. He thought he was dead. And then when he felt his spirit go back into his body, he never felt so much pain his life. They told him to sit in the corner of the cell and told me to sit on the chair. I refused. I got up and went to sit beside him. They took him to a special police station where they normally put people that are charged for armed robbery when they want to execute them. Then they locked me back in the cell. It probably was the biggest raid I witnessed.”

It must have taken incredible determination to carry on in the face of that kind of brutalisation. “I think that’s why a lot of people appreciate him,” suggests Femi. “Because he had so many opportunities to leave the country and seek political asylum. He could’ve stopped talking and just had a good life. He was already very famous. But he never compromised. So I think this is why he is still very relevant.”

The story also includes an interview with our very own Rikki Stein, Fela’s manager of 15 years (who helped to build this very site!) Rikki recalls when he first heard Fela and the Africa 70…

““I was lying in the back of a Mercedes van on the M4 motorway, lying in a heap of African dancers, on our way back from a gig. Somebody put on a cassette and it was ‘Sorrow, Tears and Blood’. And I was gobsmacked. You know, sometimes you hear something that really registers. I thought, who the fuck is this? He was talking to me. I just felt some real affinity.””

Read more HERE.


Sandra Iszodore

Sandra Izsadore Shares Her Favorite Fela Kuti Songs Playlist

As part of our ongoing artist series giving tribute to Fela Kuti, we are honored to have Sandra Izsadore share her favorite Fela Kuti songs playlist with us on Fela Kuti’s birthday! Sandra is part of the origins of Afrobeat, having introduced Fela to black consciousness during Fela’s time in Los Angeles in 1969. Sandra and Fela’s music and life together live on in songs like “Upside Down.” Sandra is performing this year, which would have been Fela’s 77th birthday, at the world’s largest Felabration taking place right now in Nigeria at the New Afrika Shrine (Ikeja)!

“Once Fela was introduced to Pan Afrikanism he became that Political Icon Musician who did not compromise. He was and is to this day the voice of the people.” – Sandra Izsadore

We hope you enjoy her playlist! Look for other playlists in the series HERE!



Countdown to Felabration Continues!

Countdown to Felabration Continues!

Felabrations around the world are beginning to get ready for the annual festival of music and arts commemorating the life and times of Nigerian’s foremost musical icon, the late great Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The idea and concept of Felabration as an annual celebration of Fela’s music, life and times, originated from his eldest child Yeni who conceived it in 1998. The world’s largest Felabration will take place in Nigeria at the New Afrika Shrine (Ikeja) this year in just a few days! The massive week-long festival begins on Monday October 12 and is preceded by this year’s senior secondary schools debate on the topic “Poverty is not an Accident” and the October 12th debates on the topic “Human Rights as My Property.”

Felabration in London is spearheaded by the British Library’s “Late at the Library: Felabration!” with a sold out show for October 16th! Stay tuned for more information about a live streaming event right here on Fela.net!

Felabrations across the US have also been announced including the following shows:

10/13-10/17 – Atlanta, GA – Multiple Venues – Spreadlove – Felabration
10/15 – Cambridge, MA – The Middle East
10/16 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex
10/16 – San Francisco, CA – Brick and Mortar
10/16 – Washington, DC – Old Engine 12 Firehouse
10/17 – Oakland, CA – The New Parish
10/17 – Brooklyn, NY – X Marks The Lot
10/18 – Chicago, IL – The Shrine
10/23 – Houston, TX – The Flat
10/30 – Chicago, IL – Maria’s

Please visit an event and show your FELAdarity!



"Fela Kuti: A Beginners Guide"

Songlines tells the Fela story in “Fela Kuti: A Beginners Guide”

Songlines Magazine, Published 10 times a year, one of the definitive magazines and blogs for world music tells the Fela Kuti story in it’s featured story.

‘Never have life, politics, art and music been so inextricably linked together in one incendiary, insurrectionary and highly danceable package’”  – Nigel Williams

Read more HERE

 


 

 


Wesleyan University Press Releases 2nd edition of "Fela: Kalakuta Notes"

Wesleyan University Press Releases 2nd edition of “Fela: Kalakuta Notes”

Wesleyan University Press, a non-profit academic press publishing in the arts and humanities, has just announced that they will release a 2nd edition printing of “Fela: Kalakuta Notes” by John Collins; Banning Eyre, fwd. Click HERE to enter the raffle to win a copy!

“Fela: Kalakuta Notes is an evocative account of Fela Kuti—the Afrobeat superstar who took African music into the arena of direct action. With his antiestablishment songs, he dedicated himself to Pan-Africanism and the down-trodden Nigerian masses, or “sufferheads.” In the 1970s, the British/Ghanaian musician and author John Collins met and worked with Fela in Ghana and Nigeria. Kalakuta Notes includes a diary that Collins kept in 1977 when he acted in Fela’s autobiographical film, Black President. The book offers revealing interviews with Fela by the author, as well as with band members, friends, and colleagues.

For this second edition, Collins has expanded the original introduction by providing needed context for popular music in Africa in the 1960s and the influences on the artist’s music and politics. In a new concluding chapter, Collins reflects on the legacy of Fela: the spread of Afrobeat, Fela’s musical children, Fela’s Shrine and Kalakuta House, and the annual Felabration. As the dust settles over Fela’s fiery, creative, and controversial career, his Afrobeat groove and political message live on in Kalakuta Notes. Features a new foreword by Banning Eyre, an up-to-date discography by Ronnie Graham, a timeline, historical photographs, and snapshots by the author.”