FELA KUTI IS MY PRESIDENT

Posted on April 9, 2011

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If you are unfamiliar with Fela Anikulapo Kuti, suffice to say that he was one of the funkiest and grooviest musicians the world has ever seen who tended to perform live concerts wearing only a speedo and a fur coat surrounded by his 29 wives (who were also his backup singers).  A gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer, Fela invented the musical genre “Afro Beat” and pumped out jams that regularly clocked in at over 20 minutes in length. An ardent Pan-Africanist and anti-Colonialist, he sang in any of the several languages he was fluent in, but most often in Pidgin English, so as to be understood by the widest possible audience in Africa. Fela built a wall around his home in Nigeria, seceded from the country and declared his compound an Independent State, naming it The Kalakuta Republic. He ran for the Presidency of Nigeria on several occasions and was considered such a popular threat to the power of the sitting rulers that he, his family and followers were regularly attacked, beaten and imprisoned. His mother was killed by government forces. Fela died in 1997 from illness related to HIV. A million people attended his funeral. Below you will find an insight into some of Fela’s social and political theory (as well as his creative process) and one my personal favorite Fela tunes, “He Miss Road.” Enjoy!

Posted in: Disko Baloba