fela kuti | March 12, 2019

singer, songwriter, pianist, saxophonist, drummer, civil rights activitst

born – 1938 in nigeria

died – 1997 – complication of AIDS

created the style “Afro-Beat.” funk, jazz, salsa, calypso and traditional nigerian yoruba music.  multiple guitars.  a lot of percussion.  wild synths.  percussive stuff galore, baritone sax.  claves/woodblock and shekere.  call and response.  solo-istic huge breaks.

1963 – Koola Lobitos, later became Afrika 70 and then Egypt 80.  his initial big song writing tool that he used, LONG SONGS.  15 minutes or so, others were WAY LESS.

“In the 1970s and ’80s, Kuti’s rebellious song lyrics established him as political dissident. As a result, Afrobeat has come to be associated with making political, social and cultural statements about greed and corruption. One of Kuti’s songs, “Zombie,” questions Nigerian soldiers’ blind obedience to carrying out orders. Another, “V.I.P. (Vagabonds in Power),” seeks to empower the disenfranchised masses to rise up against the government.”

Ginger Baker (drummer with Cream).  Went to nigeria to hang with fela.  there are some good videos on youtube and also amazing albums to check out.  i am still not sure what first initiated this discussion.

he was arrested over 200 times.

built a club called the shrine.

had a compound called kalakuta republic (recording studio, family lived there, band lived).  stormed by the nigerian government.  allegedly 1,000 nigerian troops were fed up with him.  beat up everybody.  messed them up.  allegedly threw his grandmother out the 1st floor window.  she later died of complications from being beat-up.  some people think this is false.

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About author

A Music Educator with a strong love for percussion. At Lane Tech we work on building confidence and proficiency in music. You can reach me at aflygt@cps.edu. Be sure to follow us on twitter!!! @LaneTechHSMusic. THIS IS NOT A COMMUNICATION AVENUE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS.







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