Topic: Felabration

Felabration at Notting Hill Carnival

London! Come celebrate Fela with Femi, Seun and Yeni at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival on Aug 28!

Each year on the last weekend in August, the carnival is attended by in excess of a million visitors. It involves year long preparation by the multitude of groups, each with up to 100 fabulously costumed participants dancing their way through the streets of West London and surrounding their floats complete with giant sound systems.

This year, funded by Lagos State and for the very first time, featuring Femi, Seun and Yeni, there will be a Fela float. More info here.

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More 2016 Felabrations Announced!

The annual celebration of Fela’s life, legacy, and music is upon us! Are you ready? Everybody say Yeah Yeah! Felabrate with us and listen to two newly curated playlists from Africa Hi-Fi and Duke Amayo (Antibalas)!

Described by CNN as the “Father of Afrobeat,” Fela Anikulapo Kuti was born on October 15, 1938. In the 1960s, he created the Afrobeat genre and popularised this throughout the continent by uniquely combining funk, jazz, salsa, calypso and a blend of traditional Nigerian beats. In 1979, he formed his own political, Movement of the People and ran for president of Nigeria twice. He was a renowned political activist and was recognised internationally by Amnesty International and the United Nations. When Fela passed in 1997, his funeral was attended by over a million people, the highest number of attendees recorded at a funeral of this nature in Africa, only surpassed by Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

Join us in celebrating Fela’s life at Felabrations around the globe! Visit Felabration.net for a full list of performers and activities taking place in Lagos from now through October 16, and check below for a city near you!!

FELABRATION 2016

Oct 7 – London, UK – Electric Ballroom – DETAILS
Presented by AGMP Concerts, Knitting Factory Records and OkayAfrica. Featuring performances by the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra and very special guests—including MC Afrikan Boy, Terri Walker, Tiggs Da Author, YolanDa Brown and more surprise guests! Use code FELALONDON2016 for HALF-PRICE TICKETS!

Oct 8 – Chicago, IL – The Promontory – DETAILS
Presented by AFRICA HI-FI, The Silver Room, and OkayAfrica. Featuring music by Ron Trent (MUSICANDPOWER), Timmy Regisford, DJ Duane Powell, and a live dance performance by Ayodele!

Oct 9 – Chicago, IL – The Promontory – DETAILS
All day event featuring DJ Dr. McCoy, King Wasiu (KWAMI), Ubi Soulstar, Joe Kollege, DJ Money Bull, DJ Tyn Man

Oct 14 – Brooklyn, NY – The Hall @ MP – DETAILS
CEG Presents For Ever Lives Afrobeat! Featuring Syncro System, Official New Wave, Dat Funk, Olayinka, Eli Fola III, DJ YB

Oct 14 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge – DETAILS
with AMAYO’S FU-ARKIST-RA (members of Antibalas), Fela! Dancers, Holy Forest & Laolu!

Oct 15 – New York, NY – New Nublu – DETAILS
Nikhil P. Yerawadekar & Low Mentality Afrobeat Massive featuring Amayo (Antibalas, Fu-Arkist-Ra)!

Oct 15-22 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Festival de Afrobeat Independiente – DETAILS
Featuring Don Genaro Afrobeat, El Gran Capitán, Antropofónica, La vuelta a Fela, Metaiponga y La Chicharra Afrobeat, Guanabana Afrobeat Orquesta y Minga Ensamble, and more!


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Felabration 2016

Tickets are on sale now for London Felabration 2016!

The Electric Ballroom in London will host the excellent Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, in celebration of the life, music and legacy of Fela Kuti.

Dele learned directly from Fela during the 7 years that he played keyboards in Fela’s Egypt 80 band. Since then Dele became a founding member of Femi Kuti and The Positive Force and has more recently established himself as a touring artist and educator in his own right.

Book your tickets right here.

Find out more about Dele Sosimi here.

To find out more about the annual Felabration music & arts festival in Nigeria, please visit www.felabration.net 


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Fela – Around the World

The vibration of celebration from Nigeria reached organizers in Belgium, The Netherlands, South Africa, Iceland, Ghana, Brasil, Osaka, United States, Paris and London brought the music and spirit of Fela to the people.

The Netherlands reported a second year Groovalicious organized Felabration in Brussels to celebrate the music and the struggle of Fela Kuti, godfather of afrobeat and an inspiring musician and activist. The evening began with a screening of the documentary ‘Music is the weapon’ followed by a talk with Oghene Kologbo, Ruth Tafebe, DJ Floro & Benjamin Tollet.

Ghana organizers, Alliance Francaise Accra, presented the 2015 Felabration concert and an exhibition (the first of its kind in Ghana, and perhaps in the world) which highlighted the legacy of Fela’s music. The exhibition showcased Felabration poster art and spoke to the causes that Fela fought for during his life and encourages activism.

In Brasil, Andre Sampaio + The Afromandinga and guests celebrated the legacy of the father of Afrobeat and 17,000 miles away in Osaka a tribute talk, live DJ and dance showcase was organised.

Read more about US and London Felabrations too!



Felabration Ghana Kicks Off Tonight!

Felabration Ghana Kick Off!

Felabration Ghana kicked off with Ebo Taylor leading the official Felabration event at The Alliance Francaise in Accra. Graphic Online reporter Edward Agyemang-Duah reports:

Veteran guitarist,composer and arranger, Ebo Taylor, who generated the idea to celebrate the famous Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre and political activist here in Ghana, led the Ghana event and shed some light on Fela’s music and its impact across the world.

Gyedu Blay Ambolley, Kyekyeku, Villy & the Xtreme Volumes and Yaa Yaa Kankam performed their own songs and tributes to Fela, aside from Ebo Taylor.

An exhibition of posters, titled Buy Africa, put together by Joseph Oduro-Frimpong of Ashesi University, which opened on the night and ended on November 8, highlighted the legacy of Fela’s music. The aim was to call attention to aspects of Fela’s life and music worth emulating. That is, to boldly name and shame our political leaders and their cronies whose corrupt practices rob ordinary citizens of decent lives?

Created by Yeni Anikulapo Kuti in honour of her father and Afrobeat creator in 1998, Felaboration is one of the biggest cultural gatherings on the continent and beyond. It is recognised in respected music circles globally that Fela Kuti was inspired by the Ghanaian highlife in the creation of Afrobeat.

According to Alliance Francaise, the Accra event is endorsed by the Felabration Organising Committee (FOC) in Lagos, Nigeria.”

Read more HERE.


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!