Felabration Week from the largest Felabration in the world continues! Music lovers and human rights advocates from all over Africa and the rest of the world gather in Lagos for Felebration. Tune in to Felabration.net – the Felabration Organising Committee’s official Felabration and see livestreaming events through October 18th!
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.””
Femi Kuti and Bono talk history and origins of The New Afrika Shrine backstage during the ONE Organisations visit on Thursday. After Femi’s rousing performance, Femi and Bono talk about the legacy of the land on which the Shrine now stands and the obstacles that the Shrine has overcome and ultimately how the music brings the people. “AMEN!” – Bono.
See behind the scenes footage here and stay tuned for more behind the scenes footage!
A delegation of the ONE campaigning organisation, led by its co-founder and spokesman, U2 front man, Bono, visited Femi Kuti at his New Afrika Shrine in Lagos last night. They had an animated discussion which they both enjoyed and Bono then stayed for Femi’s performance. According to all accounts, Bono was enjoying it so much that, despite being urged by his colleagues that they had to leave for another engagement, he refused to budge!
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“Afrobeat and Afrobeats — the difference a letter can make. Afrobeats is both the evolution and in many ways antithesis of its prefixed forebear. Having slowly emerged over the past several years, it exists in diametrical opposition to all Kuti and his movement stood for, a mutated spawn in flat cap and British accent. As such, its existence is polarising. For those, fists raised in solidarity, whose ears are attuned to the organic instrumental grooves and consciousness in music, usually in the minority, it invokes a stubborn ignorance. Conversely, for those more prone to pop sensibilities — the millions increasingly latching on to the Afrobeats sound — it provides a dull awareness of the music that lends their new favourite genre its name.”
Read more about the Afrobeats musical trend and influence of Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti.
With the help of a a $250,000 (£156,000) grant from the Lagos government, Kalakuta Museum opens. The Guardian shows a glimpse inside the museum and interviews Seun, Femi, musicians that performed with Fela, and many more.
Finding Fela dream team – Alex Gibney (director), Stephen Hendel (producer) and Femi Kuti (Fela’s son) were interviewed by CBS on the new documentary focused on Fela’s life and Fela! The Musical.
Watch the full interview HERE
“The brilliance of Finding Fela is in the juxtaposition of director Bill T. Jones’ tale of his efforts to bring the Afrobeat pioneer’s larger-than-life story to the most improbable of places — Broadway, against a rendering of Fela’s life as told by the people who knew him, loved him and committed their lives to his vision. The film’s effect is twofold: it confirms both the audacity and the artifice of Fela! the musical, while it renders an intimate portrait of Fela, the man.”
“It is impossible to put Fela’s life in two hours, but I was very impressed. I cannot explain how happy I am. I am very happy.” -Femi Kuti on Finding Fela”