As part of our ongoing artist series giving tribute to Fela Kuti, Questlove shares with us his favorite Fela Kuti songs. Questlove appears in the documentary film “Finding Fela” where he describes the music of Fela “…it’s not microwave music, it’s souffle. It’s a slow burn that just sizzles, and gets hotter.” It’s the perfect description and this playlist will take you from slow burn, to sizzle to totally hot! On the life of Fela, Questlove adds:
“He clearly had the ear and the adoration of the people. To use this time & time again, and to get thrown in jail every time a single comes out. I mean, I have 16 records and can’t imagine that I might have to go to jail for every time my album comes out. Not many people are willing to suffer for their craft.”
We hope you enjoy the Questlove favorite Fela songs playlist and other playlists giving tribute to the life and music of Fela Kuti in our Spotify playlist series!
“Whilst drumming up support for his new Broadway musical, FELA!, producer Stephen Hendel described Nigerian Afrobeat exponent Fela Kuti as “without question one of the great composers and musicians and activists of the second half of the 20th century.” It sounds like a bold claim on first consideration, but becomes all the harder to dismiss after soaking in the sights and sounds of prolific documentarian Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela (2014). A soulful ‘Felabration’ of the magnetic Kuti, archive footage of the snake-hipped lothario is here interspersed with a live recording of the hugely successful FELA!, the first Broadway show to ever make the journey from New York to the bustling Nigerian capital city of Lagos.” -Read the full review HERE
The African Premiere of Finding Fela at the New Afrika Shrine, Lagos on Sunday October 12th
Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela (2014) is a sweeping portrait of the artist as guerilla warrior. Set to the insistent groove of Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti’s revolutionary Afrobeat sound, the remarkable story of one man’s courageous stand against a corrupt and dictatorial government gives testament to the transformative power of music as a force of social and political unification.
Finding Fela had it’s premire in Nigeria during the start of Felabration 2014 at the New Afrika Shrine on October 12th as as the part of the activities to kick off the 2014 Felabration (which will run from October 12 to 19)
The box set comes with 7 LPs selected by Brian Eno, a poster, 12-page booklet with a foreword by Eno, song lyrics, and in-depth commentaries by Afrobeat historian Chris May.
London Scene (1971), Shakara (1972), Gentleman (1973), Afrodisiac (1973), Zombie (1976), Upside Down (1976), and I.T.T. (1980)
“I remember the first time I listened [to Fela Kuti’s album Afrodisiac] and how dazzled I was by the groove and the rhythmic complexity, and by the raw, harsh sounds of the brass, like Mack trucks hurtling across highways with their horns blaring. Everything I thought I knew about music at that point was up in the air again.” -Brian Eno
“FINDING FELA”, the latest documentary by Alex Gibney, is a muddled but strangely likeable fever dream of a film. With only the faintest hint of structure, this introduction to Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician and political activist who died in 1997 of complications related to AIDS, often seems as nomadic as the African-jazz mash-ups that he made famous. ” -The Economist
“Some of the best parts of the film come from the accounts we get of Fela from his family, his children Yemi, Seun and Femi provide intimate, and at turns funny and poignant glimpses into the man behind the legend.”
“Music really is a weapon, and Fela as this engaging film shows was one of its best soldiers, long may he continue to inspire people.”