Topic: Playlist Series

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 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!!


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!

DJ Adam Gibbons Shares Playlist of Favorite Fela Kuti Songs

We’re excited to share a playlist from DJ Adam Gibbons of Uhuru Afrika! It is the latest installment in our ongoing playlist series giving tribute to Fela Kuti.

Working in the industry for over 20 years, Adam Gibbons strives to share his passion for music with the crowds he plays for and in the events and music that he produces. Specializing in an Afro and Latin dance floor sound, his ability to blend traditional African and Latin rhythms with modern electronic influenced music creating a soundscape that is his own. Gibbons has visited seven African nations, gathering inspiration. He has studied African hand percussion with Bob Bloom, Faculty Advisor at the Olatunji Institute, learning the Olatunji method of traditional Yoruba percussion, as well as Malian Manding tradition with Sidy Maiga. He has played in clubs and festivals all over the world, sharing the stage with heavyweight and grammy winning artists such as Femi Kuti (3x), Bebel Gilberto, Oumou Sangaré, Tony Allen, Antibalas, Bill Laswell, Triloc Gurtu, Shiela E, Osunlade, Thievery Corporation, King Britt, Black Coffee, Ron Trent, Jazzanova, Quantic, Rich Medina, and so many more. His current project Uhuru Afrika is known globally and hosts monthly events in both Boston and NYC.

On his relationship with Fela’s music, Gibbons said:

I found Fela Kuti when I was a teenager just starting to broaden my musical spectrum. I had been an avid bebop fan for quite some time when I started to explore deeper and discover the African roots of Jazz through albums like Pharaoh Sanders’ Thembe. The first album that I heard of Fela’s was Expensive Shit. This album changed my whole perspective on music. I had never heard anything like it but it instantly resonated with me on a very deep level. I was blown away and like a kid in a candy store, I dove in. I only hoped he had at least two or three albums… but there were dozens of them! At the time, I had no understanding of who Fela was, what his experience was like, what his struggle was about or what he was fighting/singing/protesting for. I did know that I felt this music was powerful in a way that I had never experienced music to be powerful.

For more on DJ Adam Gibbons, visit his Facebook and SoundCloud. Listen to his latest single here and latest remixes here & here.

For more on Uhuru Afrika, visit their Facebook and SoundCloud, where you’ll find their latest DJ mixes.

Erykah Badu Releases Favorite Fela Kuti Song Playlist

As part of our ongoing playlist series giving tribute to Fela Kuti, Erykah Badu shares with us her top Fela Kuti songs. Grammy award winning musician, activist, and actress, she has been a voice for social concerns and struggles within the African-American community.

Erykah took her time creating this list, carefully listening in order to “try and get the frequency right.” At one point switching her initial selections of “Just Like That” for “Beasts of No Nation” and “ROFOROFO Fight” to “Je’Nwi Temi (Don’t Gag Me).” We’re proud to share her playlist with you!

And for some more insight into her selections…

1. “Coffin For Head of State” because the message is so clear and profound. I feel like I’m walking with them. It’s a funeral processional that ends on the steps of the police station. Ha. I played this song on blast from my balcony on repeat when I moved into this house to let the neighbors know what type of party it was. I had no furniture.

2. “No Agreement” because the groove is a HESI. A chant. A prayer. Locked on the 1. No matter how many baths I take, after this song the funk re mains. Yes RE & MAINS is two words.

3. “Army Arrangement” is a classic . Nice obscure piano solo. I appreciate it’s imperfections. Hypnotic.

4. “Je’Nwi Temi (Don’t Gag Me)” — that’s what she said.

5. “Beasts of No Nation” is an epic piece. Maybe one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It was strong and very very social politically forward. Lol. The album cover had 3 of the former presidents depicted as blood sucking demons. Now that was brave for Africa in the 80’s, to say the least. Ironically the chord progressions are very beautiful. It’s an emotional piece.

For fans in Dallas check out her new one woman show – and her new mix tape coming out soon!

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!

Dante Ross Releases Fela Kuti Playlist

Dante Ross Releases Fela Kuti Playlist

As part of our ongoing artist series giving tribute to Fela Kuti, Grammy award winning producer and one of Complex Magazines “.. Best A&Rs in Hip-Hop History” Dante Ross dives deep into Fela’s music and talks to us about his introduction to Fela and what the music stirs in him.

“My pops was a big Fela fan and he took me to see him at the Ritz in NY with Egypt 80 when I was 14-15 years old and I’ve been hooked ever since. The music of Fela has a meditative quality that makes a day at home reading a book or on the couch relaxing even that much more priceless. Fela’s songs are proof for me that god exists in music.”

We hope you enjoy Dante’s playlist! Visit other playlists in the series HERE.

Here’s what Dante had to say about the songs in his playlist:

“ITT – This was the first Fela record I listened to religiously. I
feel in love with this record in my late teens. My pops was a big Fela
fan and he took me to see him at the Ritz in NY with Egypt 80 when I
was 14-15 years old. I discovered this record a bit later and
instantly became hooked. The album Black President opened the door for
my exploration into Fela and Afrobeat. The title and chorus chant
alone (International Thief Thief) spotlights the political and satirical brilliance that is Fela Kuti.

“Fear Not For Man” – The drums in the intro and the hypnotic organ line
are mesmerizing as is the tune all 14 minutes of it. The groove is
just so relentless and obviously James Brown influenced. A great great dance record.
Tony Allen’s playing on this and all his Fela recordings are just
superb, He is on is the bar which all drummers aspire to. His groove
is so deep and he plays the most intricate time signatures with the
greatest of ease. On all Fela’s music the drums are the pulse and Tony Allens pulse was magnificent.
One of the all time greatest drummers in almost everyones book.

“Africa Center Of The World” – Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers Found this record
during my crate digging days. Kenny Dope’s re-edit / remastering of
this is amazing. Another hypnotic, relentless groove and dance floor
rocker. This always reminds me of Rich Medina’s Jump N’ Funk Fela
parties he did in NYC circa 2004 or so, Also a classic for Danny
Krivit’s body and soul parties.The combo of Roy Ayers and Fela has a
spiritual connotation.

Colonial Mentality – The saxophone intro groove with those drums is so
gorgeous. This song for unknown reasons brings up a strong emotion for me.
It tugs at my heart in a weird and inexplicable way. Love this song I
have listened to it on repeat all day a bunch of times in my life.
Once again the chanting vocals provide an hypnotic feel that only Fela’s music can provide.
The repetition is gorgeous there is no part of the chord progression
left unexplored. Like most Fela music it has a meditative quality that
makes for a good day at the crib reading a book on the couch relaxing
priceless. This song is proof for me that god exists in music.

Lady- Saved my favorite for last. This song is maybe Fela’s most famous.
It’s just a brilliant piece of music. Fela and Africa 70 just beat the
groove to death exploring every inch of the progression building on it
time and time again only to strip it down and build it up again. This
tune exemplifies the brilliance of Fela and Afro beat in all it’s
glory from the chant vocal, to the English lyrics, the unforgettable
melody and the percussive nature of the rhythm that is beyond
relentless. I can listen to this song forever and always find a new
thing in it, a new piece of inspiration, another thing that makes Fela
and James Brown musical kindred spirits.”


Questlove releases favorite Fela Kuti songs playlist

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!

Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter

Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter Releases Fela Kuti Playlist

As part of our ongoing artist series giving tribute to Fela Kuti, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter shares with us his memories and favorite Fela Kuti tracks. Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter is the co-founder and MC of the legendary Philadelphia-based hip-hop group The Roots. Thought is highly renowned in the Hip-Hop community for his socially aware, informed and character-driven rap style.

“I was introduced to the music of Fela Kuti in 1994 by my good friend Santi Gold. I accompanied her to a record store in Philly to purchase some of her dad’s favorite music as a birthday gift for him. I decided to purchase the album “Original Suffer Head” for myself and the rest is history. I identified with the Nigerian Afrobeat sound in a way that I had never identified with any other music before and the spirit and feel of Fela’s music became the soundtrack for the best part of my life.”

Talib Kweli Releases Fela Kuti Playlist

As part of our ongoing artist playlist series giving tribute to the legacy of Fela Kuti,  Talib Kweli shares with us his favorite Fela Kuti songs. After nearly 20 years of releasing mesmerizing music, Talib Kweli stands as one of the world’s most talented and most accomplished rappers. The Brooklyn-based rapper earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. He shares with us his thoughts on Fela Kuti, the music and the message:

“Fela Kuti shows us that the music of the oppressed must always be connected to the struggle. It is never made just for the sake of making something beautiful, it has purpose that goes far beyond entertainment. Fela taught us how to be exactly who we are and to be unapologetic about it.”

We hope you enjoy and follow our series and the music created by Talib Kweli!

Ziggy Marley Releases Favorite Fela Kuti Songs Playlist

As part of our ongoing artist playlist series giving tribute to the legacy of Fela Kuti,  Ziggy Marley shares with us his favorite Fela Kuti songs.

“Fela is one of my biggest influences in a very spiritual sense.   His music is spirit and so is Fela.  Fela is an overall influence, it’s not just music it’s everything else too.”

We hope you enjoy and follow our series and the music inspired and created by Ziggy Marley!

rich medina

Rich Medina Releases Top 5 Fela Kuti Song Playlist

For the past two decades, Rich Medina has cemented his reputation as an elite DJ, one of few on the planet capable of taking audiences worldwide on a sonic journey through hip-hop, house, soul, afrobeat, funk, breaks and dance classics. Rich Medina introduced an American generation to afrobeat.

Today Rich shares his Top 5 Fela Kuti songs for all to share! #YeahYeah