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Encyclopedia > Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti
Birth name Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti
Also known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Born October 15, 1938(1938-10-15)
Origin Abeokuta, Nigeria
Died August 2, 1997 (aged 58)
Genre(s) Afrobeat
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, instrumentalist
Instrument(s) Saxophone, singing, keyboards, trumpet, guitar, drum
Years active 1958 - 1997
Label(s) afrobeat
Associated
acts
Africa '70, Egypt 80, Koola Lobitos, Nigeria '70
Website felaproject.net

Fela Anikulapo Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, October 15, 1938 - August 2, 1997), or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... is the 288th day of the year (289th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Location of Abeokuta in Nigeria Abeokuta is a city of southwest Nigeria, situated at , on the Ogun river, 64 miles north of Lagos by railway, or 81 miles by water. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Afrobeat is a combination of Yoruba music, jazz, Highlife, and funk rhythms, fused with African percussion and vocal styles, popularized in Africa in the 1970s. ... The term singer-songwriter refers to performers who both write and sing their own material. ... A musician is a person who plays or composes music. ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... The saxophone (colloquially referred to as sax) is a conical-bored instrument of the woodwind family. ... Harry Belafonte singing, photograph by C. van Vechten Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, which is often contrasted with speech. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Trumpeter redirects here. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Drum (disambiguation). ... In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. ... Africa 70 was the afrobeat entourage orchestrated by Fela Kuti throughout most of the 1970s. ... is the 288th day of the year (289th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 214th day of the year (215th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ... “Instrumentalist” redirects here. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... Afrobeat is a combination of Yoruba music, jazz, Highlife, and funk rhythms, fused with African percussion and vocal styles, popularized in Africa in the 1970s. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... Activism, in a general sense, can be described as intentional action or inaction to bring about social or political change. ... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ...


He is ranked at number 46, in a list of the top 100 most influential musicians compiled by HMV. [1] This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Contents

Biography

Kuti was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria[2] to a middle-class family. His mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, was a feminist active in the anti-colonial movement and his father, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, a Protestant minister and school Principal, was the first president of the Nigerian Union of Teachers. His brothers, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, were both well known in Nigeria. Location of Abeokuta in Nigeria Abeokuta is a city of southwest Nigeria, situated at , on the Ogun river, 64 miles north of Lagos by railway, or 81 miles by water. ... Ogun State is a state in South-western Nigeria. ... Funmilayo Ransome Kuti (born 1900) is described by many as the doyen of female rights in Nigeria and was regarded as “The Mother of Africa,” as she was a very powerful force at a time when it was a taboo for women to be heard and as a fighter of... Feminists redirects here. ... Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti (August 2, 1940 – February 10, 2006) // Early life Ransome-Kuti was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria on August 2, 1940. ...


Fela went to London in 1958 with the intention of studying medicine but decided to study music instead at the Trinity College of Music. While there, he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a style of music that he would later call Afrobeat. The style was a fusion of American Jazz and Funk with West African Highlife. In 1961, Fela married his first wife, Remilekun (Remi) Taylor, with whom he would have three children (Femi, Yeni and Sola). In 1963, Fela moved back to Nigeria, re-formed Koola Lobitos and trained as a radio producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. In 1969, Fela took the band to the United States. While there, Fela discovered the black power movement through Sandra Smith(now Isidore) -- a partisan of the Black Panther Party--which would heavily influence his music and political views and renamed the band "Nigeria 70". Soon, the Immigration and Naturalization Service were tipped off by a promoter that Fela and his band were in the US without work permits. The band then performed a quick recording session in Los Angeles, which would later be released as "The '69 Los Angeles Sessions". For the chemical substances known as medicines, see medication. ... Trinity College of Music is one of the UKs top [[music conservatory|music conservatories], based in Greenwich, London, England. ... Afrobeat is a combination of Yoruba music, jazz, Highlife, and funk rhythms, fused with African percussion and vocal styles, popularized in Africa in the 1970s. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... Highlife is a musical genre that originated in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the 1920s and spread to other West African countries. ... Femi Kuti Femi Kuti is an award winning Nigerian musician, and the oldest son of legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. ... The Black Panther Party (originally called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was an African American organization founded to promote civil rights and self-defense. ... The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was a part of the United States Department of Justice and handled legal and illegal immigration and naturalization. ... Los Angeles and L.A. redirect here. ...


Fela and his band, renamed "Africa '70" returned to Nigeria. He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, a recording studio and a home for many connected to the band which he later declared independent from the Nigerian state. Fela set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel, named the Afro-Spot and then 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, and raids on the Kalakuta Republic were frequent. In 1974 the police arrived with a search warrant and a cannabis joint, which they had intended to plant on Fela. He became wise to this and swallowed the joint. In response, the police took him into custody and waited to examine his feces. Fela enlisted the help of his prison mates and gave the police someone else's feces, and Fela was freed. He then recounted this tale in his release Expensive Shit. Africa 70 was the afrobeat entourage orchestrated by Fela Kuti throughout most of the 1970s. ... Kalakuta Republic was the name musician/political activist Fela Kuti gave to the communal compound that housed his family, band members, and recording studio. ... A Commune is a kind of intentional community where most resources are shared and there is little or no personal property. ... Methods and media for sound recording are varied and have undergone significant changes between the first time sound was actually recorded for later playback until now. ... For the illustrated magazine, see Studio Magazine. ... Laser lights illuminate the dance floor at a Gatecrasher dance music event in Sheffield, England A nightclub (or night club or club) is a drinking, dancing, and entertainment venue which does its primary business after dark. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Nigerian Pidgin is an English-based pidgin or creole language spoken as a kind of lingua franca across Nigeria that is referred to simply as Pidgin, Broken English or Brokan. It is often not considered a creole language since most speakers are not native speakers, although many children do learn... A search warrant is a written warrant issued by judge or magistrate which authorizes the police to conduct a search of a person or location for evidence of a criminal offense and seize the evidence. ... This article is about the plant genus Cannabis. ...


In 1977 Fela and the Afrika 70 released the hit album Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the "zombie" metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic, during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the main army barrack in Lagos and write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier," referencing the official inquiry which claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier. This article is about a military rank. ... The Military of Nigeria has active duty personnel in three Nigerian armed services divisions totalling approximately 76,000 troops. ... An album or record album is a collection of related audio or music tracks distributed to the public. ... For people named Coffin, see Coffin (surname). ...


Fela and his band then took residence in Crossroads Hotel as the Shrine had been destroyed along with his commune. In 1978 Fela married twenty seven women, many of whom were his dancers and singers to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Kalakuta Republic. The year was also marked by two notorious concerts, the first in Accra in which riots broke out during the song "Zombie" which led to Fela being banned from entering Ghana. The second was at the Berlin Jazz Festival after which most of Fela's musicians deserted him, due to rumors that Fela was planning to use the entirety of the proceeds to fund his presidential campaign. For the album by The Cure, see Concert (album). ... Accra, population 1,661,400 (2001), is the capital of Ghana. ... Teamsters, armed with pipes, riot in a clash with riot police in the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934. ...


Despite the massive setbacks, Fela was determined to come back. He formed his own political party, which he called "Movement of the People". In 1979 he put himself forward for President in Nigeria's first elections for more than a decade but his candidature was refused. At this time, Fela created a new band called "Egypt 80" and continued to record albums and tour the country. He further infuriated the political establishment by dropping the names of ITT vice-president Moshood Abiola and then General Olusegun Obasanjo at the end of a hot-selling 25-minute political screed entitled "International Thief Thief". Political Parties redirects here. ... President is a title held by many leaders of organizations, companies, trade unions, universities, and countries. ... This article is about the political process. ... Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (often referred to as M. K. O. Abiola) (born August 24, 1937?) in Abeokuta, was a Nigerian Yorùbá businessman and political figure. ... General (rtd. ...


In 1984 he was again attacked by the Military government, who jailed him on a dubious charge of currency smuggling. His case was taken up by several human-rights groups, and after twenty months, he was released from prison by General Ibrahim Babangida. On his release he divorced his twelve remaining wives. Once again, Fela continued to release albums with Egypt 80, made a number of successful tours of the United States and Europe and also continued to be politically active. In 1986, Fela performed in Giants Stadium in New Jersey as part of the Amnesty International "Conspiracy of Hope" concert, sharing the bill with Bono, Carlos Santana, and The Neville Brothers. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (born August 17, 1941), popularly known as IBB, was the military ruler of Nigeria from August 1985 until his departure from office under heavy popular pressure in 1993, after his annulment of elections held that year which were widely held to have been the freest and... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Giants Stadium, frequently referred to as The Meadowlands, is the home stadium for the New York Giants and New York Jets football teams of the NFL, and the Red Bull New York soccer team of MLS. It is located in East Rutherford, New Jersey in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Amnesty international Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization which defines its mission as to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience... For other uses, see Bono (disambiguation). ... Carlos Augusto Alves Santana (born July 20, 1947), is a Grammy Award-winning Mexican-born American Latin rock musician and guitarist. ... The Neville Brothers, an R&B, Soul and Jazz group, was formed in 1976 in New Orleans, LA. // Aaron Neville Art Neville Charles Neville Cyril Neville Ivan Neville The Neville Brothers (March 1978) Fiyo on the Bayou (April 1981) Nevillization I (September 1982) Nevillization II (February 1983) Neville-ization (June...


His album output slowed in the 1990s, and eventually he stopped releasing albums altogether. The battle against military corruption in Nigeria was taking its toll, especially during the rise of dictator Sani Abacha. Rumors were also spreading that he was suffering from an illness for which he was refusing treatment. On August 3, 1997 Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, already a prominent AIDS activist and former Minister of Health, stunned the nation by announcing his younger brother's death a day earlier from Kaposi's sarcoma brought on by AIDS. (Their younger brother, Beko, was in jail at this time at the hand of Abacha for political activity). More than a million people attended Fela's funeral at the site of the old Shrine compound. Sani Abacha General Sani Abacha (Kano, 20 September 1943 – Abuja, 8 June 1998) was a Nigerian politician and military leader. ... is the 215th day of the year (216th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ... For other uses, see AIDS (disambiguation). ...


Music

The musical style performed by Fela Kuti is called Afrobeat, which is essentially a fusion of jazz, funk and Traditional African Chant. It is characterized by having African style percussion, vocals, and musical structure, along with jazzy, funky horn sections. The "endless groove" is also used, in which a base rhythm of drums, muted guitar, and bass guitar are repeated throughout the song. 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 with the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. Fela's songs were almost always over ten minutes in length, some reaching the twenty or even thirty minute marks. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside of 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, horn, guitar and made 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.


Political views

The American Black Power movement influenced Fela's political views. He was also a supporter of Pan-Africanism and socialism (although in a 1982 documentary he can clearly be seen rejecting both capitalism and socialism in favour of a third way that he described as Africanism), and called for a united, democratic African republic. He was a fierce supporter of human rights, and many of his songs are direct attacks against dictatorships, specifically the militaristic governments of Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a social commentator, and criticized his fellow Africans (especially the upper class) for betraying traditional African culture. The African culture he believed in also included having many wives (polygyny) and the Kalakuta Republic was formed in part as a polygamist colony. His views towards women are characterised by some as misogynist, with songs like "Mattress" typically cited as evidence[3]. Though not part of African culture, it should be noted though that Fela was very open when it came to sex, as he portrayed in some of his songs, like "Open and Close" and "Na Poi". ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. ... Pan-Africanism is a term which can have two separate, but related meanings. ... Socialism is a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... Socialism is a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... Look up republic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by a dictator. ... Militarism or militarist ideology is the doctrinal view of a society as being best served (or more efficient) when it is governed or guided by concepts embodied in the culture, doctrine, system, or people of the military. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... The term polygyny (neo-Greek: poly+gune Many + Wives) is used in related ways in social anthropology and sociobiology. ... Kalakuta Republic was the name musician/political activist Fela Kuti gave to the communal compound that housed his family, band members, and recording studio. ...


Select discography

Year Title Label
1971 Live ! (with Ginger Baker) Regal Zonophone / Pathe Marconi
1971 Why Black Man Dey Suffer EMI / Decca Afrodesia
1972 Stratavarious (with Ginger Baker) Polydor / Atco
1972 Na Poi EMI HMV
1972 Open & Close EMI / Pathe Marconi
1972 Shakara EMI / Editions Makossa / Pathe Marconi / Creole
1972 Roforofo Fight Jofabro / Editions Makossa / Pathe Marconi
1973 Afrodisiac EMI/ Regal Zonophone / Pathe Marconi
1973 Gentleman EMI / Pathe Marconi / Creole
1974 Alagbon Close Jofabro / Editions Makossa
1975 Noise for Vendor Mouth Afrobeat
1975 Confusion EMI / Pathe Marconi
1975 Everything Scatter Coconut / Creole
1975 He Miss Road EMI / Pathe Marconi
1975 Expensive Shit Soundwork Shop / Editions Makossa
1976 No Bread Soundwork Shop / Editions Makossa
1976 Kalakuta Show Kalakuta / Editions Makossa
1976 Upside Down Decca Afrodisia
1976 Ikoyi Blindness Africa Music
1976 Before I Jump Like Monkey Give Me Banana Coconut
1976 Excuse O Coconut
1976 Zombie Coconut / Creole / Mercury
1976 Yellow Fever Decca Afrodesia
1977 Opposite People Decca Afrodesia
1977 Fear Not For Man Decca Afrodesia
1977 Stalemate Decca Afrodesia
1977 Observation No Crime Decca Afrodesia
1977 Johnny Just Drop (J.J.D Live!! at Kalakuta Republic) Decca Afrodesia
1977 I Go Shout Plenty Decca Afrodesia
1977 No Agreement Decca Afrodesia / Barclay / Celluloid
1977 Sorrow, Tears and Blood Kalakuta
1978 Shuffering and Shmiling Coconut / Celluloid
1979 Unknown Soldier Phonodisk / Uno Melodic
1979 I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) Kalakuta
1980 Music of Many Colours (with Roy Ayers) Phonodisk / Celluloid
1980 Authority Stealing Kalakuta
1981 Black President Capitol
1981 Original Sufferhead Lagos International / Arista
1981 Coffin for Head of State Kalakuta
1983 Perambulator Lagos International
1985 Army Arrangement Kalakuta / Celluloid
1986 Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense Polygram / Barclay
1989 Beasts of No Nation Kalakuta / Eurobound / Shanachie
1989 O.D.O.O. (Overtake Don Overtake Overtake) Kalakuta / Shanachie
1990 Confusion Break Bones Kalakuta
1990 Just Like That Kalakuta
1992 Underground System Kalakuta / Sterns

Live! is a re-issued album recorded in 1971 and 1978 by Fela Kutis band, Africa 70, with the addition of former Cream drummer Ginger Baker. ... Expensive Shit is the twelfth full-length album by Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti. ... Zombie is the 27th full-length album by Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti. ... Roy Ayers (born September 10, 1940, Los Angeles) is a funk, soul and jazz vibraphone player. ... Black President is a 1981 album by Fela Kuti released on the Capitol Records label. ...

References

  1. ^ http://www.hmv.co.jp/news/newsDetail.asp?newsnum=305060002
  2. ^ Hamilton, Janice. Nigeria in Pictures. Page 70
  3. ^ [1]Jouvert: Fela and His Wives: The Import of a Postcolonial Masculinity
  • Idowu, Mabinuori Kayode (2002). Fela, le Combattant. Le Castor Astral. France. 
  • Olaniyan,Tejumola (2004). Arrest the Music! Fela and his rebel art and politics. Indiana University Press. USA. 
  • Olorunyomi, Sola (2002). Afrobeat: Fela and the Imagined Continent. Africa World Press. ??. 
  • Schoonmaker, Trevor (ed) (2003). Fela: From West Africa to West Broadway. Palgrave Macmillan. USA. 
  • Schoonmaker, Trevor (ed) (2003). Black President: The Art & Legacy of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. New Museum Of Contemporary Art, New York. ISBN 0-915557-87-8. 
  • Veal, Michael E. (1997). Fela: The Life of an African Musical Icon. Temple University Press. USA. 

Video

  • Stephane tchal-Gadjieff & Jean Jacques Flori, Music Is The Weapon 1982, reissued in 2002 by Universal
  • Fela In Concert 1981
  • Fela Live! Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Egypt 80 Band 1981, Recorded Live At Glastonbury, England

See also

Afrobeat is a combination of Yoruba music, jazz, Highlife, and funk rhythms, fused with African percussion and vocal styles, popularized in Africa in the 1970s. ... Femi Kuti Femi Kuti is an award winning Nigerian musician, and the oldest son of legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. ... Tony Oladipo Allen (born August 12, 1940 in Lagos, Nigeria) is a Nigerian drummer, composer, and songwriter. ... ‹ The template below (Expand) is being considered for deletion. ...

External links

  • Fela Radio Shrine A trip into the musical thoughts of Fela Kuti
  • Fela's true legacy in-depth article from the Guardian
  • Fela Kuti remembered Biography from the Guardian
  • The Fela Project A multimedia art exhibition, publication and performance project that explores and commemorates the influence of Fela Kuti.
  • Black President Exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY in 2003. Traveled to London, San Francisco and Cincinnati.
  • A linguistic approach to Fela Kuti's lyrics Word-by-word translations of five of Fela's best-known songs
  • Biographical entry in the African Music Encyclopedia
  • "Fela Kuti" World Music Legends

  Results from FactBites:
 
Fela Kuti - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1582 words)
Fela Kuti was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria to a middle-class family.
Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to an army barrack and write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier," referencing the official inquiry which claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier.
Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards but he also played the trumpet, horn, guitar and made the occasional drum solo.
Fela Kuti - Music Downloads - Online (1056 words)
Impressed at what he read, Fela was politically revivified and decided that some changes were in order: first, the name of the band, as Koola Lobitos became Nigeria 70; second, the music would become more politically explicit and critical of the oppression of the powerless worldwide.
Fela suffered a fractured skull as well as other broken bones; his 82-year old mother was thrown from an upstairs window, inflicting injuries that would later prove fatal.
Stylistically speaking, Fela's music didn't change much during this time, and much of what he recorded, while good, was not as blistering as some of the amazing music he made in the '70s.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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