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Friday, July 9, 2010

Legend: Fela Kuti

Fela Anikulapo Kuti ( 15 October 1938 — 2 August 1997), or simply Fela , was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.
The musical style performed by Fela Kuti is called Afrobeat, which is a fusion of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and traditional West African chants and rhythms. Afrobeat also borrows heavily from the native "tinker pan" African-style percussion that Kuti acquired while studying in Ghana with Hugh Masakela, under the uncanny Hedzoleh Soundz. Afrobeat is also characterized by having vocals, and musical structure, along with jazzy, funky horn sections. The endless groove is also used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted guitar, and bass guitar are repeated throughout the song. His band was notable for featuring two baritone saxophones, whereas most groups were using only one of this instrument. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in funk and hip hop. Some elements often present in Fela's music are the call-and-response within the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. Fela's songs were almost always over 10 minutes in length, some reaching the 20- or even 30-minute marks, while some unreleased tracks would last up to 45 minutes when performed live. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside Africa. His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin, although he also performed a few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards, but he also played the trumpet, guitar, and took the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa. Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as the Underground Spiritual Game. Fela attempted making a movie but lost all the materials to the fire that was set to his house by the military government in power. Kuti thought that art, and thus his own music, should have political meaning.


  • 1969 Fela Fela Fela
  • 1970 Fela's London Scene
  • 1971 Live! (with Ginger Baker) Barclay Records
  • 1971 Why Black Man Dey Suffer Wrasse Records
  • 1972 Stratavarious (with Ginger Baker) Polydor Records
  • 1972 Na Poi Barclay Records see 1976 Yellow Fever \ 1972 Na Poi
  • 1972 Open & Close Barclay Records
  • 1972 Shakara Barclay Records
  • 1972 Roforofo Fight\ 1971 The Fela Singles Barclay Records
  • 1973 Afrodisiac Barclay Records
  • 1973 Gentleman Barclay Records
  • 1974 Alagbon Close Barclay Records
  • 1975 Noise for Vendor Mouth Barclay Records
  • 1975 Confusion Barclay Records
  • 1975 Everything Scatter Barclay Records
  • 1975 He Miss Road Barclay Records
  • 1975 Expensive Shit Barclay Records
  • 1976 No Bread EMI Nigeria
  • 1976 Kalakuta Show Barclay Records
  • 1976 Upside Down Barclay Records
  • 1976 Ikoyi Blindness Barclay Records
  • 1976 Before I Jump Like Monkey Give Me Banana Barclay Records
  • 1976 Excuse O Barclay Records
  • 1976 Zombie [Nigeria]
  • 1976 Zombie Barclay Records\1977 Observation No Crime
  • 1976 Yellow Fever \ 1972 Na Poi Barclay Records
  • 1977 Opposite People Barclay Records
  • 1977 Fear Not For Man Barclay Records
  • 1977 Stalemate Barclay Records
  • 1977 Johnny Just Drop (J.J.D Live!! at Kalakuta Republic) Barclay Records
  • 1977 I Go Shout Plenty EMI Nigeria
  • 1977 No Agreement Barclay Records
  • 1977 Sorrow, Tears, and Blood Barclay Records
  • 1977 Shuffering And Shmiling [Nigeria]
  • 1978 Shuffering and Shmiling Barclay Records
  • 1979 Unknown Soldier Barclay Records
  • 1979 V.I.P. - Vagabonds In Power. (Nigeria)
  • 1980 I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) Barclay Records
  • 1980 Music of Many Colours (with Roy Ayers) Barclay Records
  • 1980 Authority Stealing Barclay Records
  • 1981 Black President EMI Nigeria
  • 1981 Original Suffer-Head Barclay Records
  • 1981 Coffin for Head of State Barclay Records
  • 1983 Perambulator Barclay Records
  • 1983 Live in Amsterdam Barclay Records
  • 1985 Army Arrangement Barclay Records
  • 1986 Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense Barclay Records
  • 1986 Mr. Follow Follow
  • 1989 Beasts of No Nation Barclay Records
  • 1989 O.D.O.O. (Overtake Don Overtake Overtake) Barclay Records
  • 1990-Confusion Break Bone
  • 1992 Underground System Barclay Records
  • 2000 The Best of Fela Kuti The Black President Barclay/MCA Records
  • 2004 The Underground Spiritual Game Quannum Projects


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