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Monday, September 20, 2010

Fela Kuti - Music was his revolutionary weapon of choice (we all fight with our gifts)





The leading creator of "Afro Soul" Fela Kuti...

Fela discovered the Black Power movement in his visits to America through Sandra Smith (now Izsadore)— a partisan of the Black Panther Party — which would heavily influence his music and political views and he would later return to Nigeria a changed man. He was returned to Nigeria when the Immigration and Naturalization Service was tipped off by a promoter that Fela and his band were in the U.S. without work permits.

After Fela and his band returned to Nigeria, the lyrical themes of his music changed from love to social issues. He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, a recording studio, and a home for many connected to the band that he later declared independent from the Nigerian state. I can't think of many musicians who've campaigned to create their own country, as Fela Kuti once did, to save his Lagos slum from Nigeria's despotic regime.

Fela set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel named the Afro-Spot, and then called it the Afrika Shrine, where he performed regularly. Fela also changed his middle name to Anikulapo (meaning "he who carries death in his pouch"), stating that his original middle name of Ransome was a slave name.

The recordings continued, and the music became more politically motivated. Fela's music became very popular among the Nigerian public and Africans in general. In fact, he made the decision to sing in Pidgin English so that his music could be enjoyed by individuals all over Africa, where the local languages spoken are very diverse and numerous. As popular as Fela's music had become in Nigeria and elsewhere, it was also very unpopular with the ruling government of Nigeria. He was...a true revolutionary!

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1 comment:

Andy Rogers said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing it to the world. Hope to read more from you. God Bless.