Thursday, September 29

New book: Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

The first concert I ever attended starred James Brown -- splits, cape tossing, doing the Camel Walk and all. Few live performances I've experienced could touch that of the Godfather of Soul's, which registered a 10 on my Richter Scale of music events...

That is, until I saw Fela and his stellar Afrobeat orchestra live in Philly, accompanied by about a dozen of his twirling/dancing/harmonizing wives! (Not shown in that word picture: the rest of Fela's 27 wives, who may have been home in Lagos, nor his bikini briefs and gold chain attire.)

What can I say? The man was loved. Not just by the ladies, the slamming percusionists, and JB-ish horn masters storming the concert stage around him, but by people the world over.
Which is why, almost eight years after his death, another tome about this Nigerian visionary has been published.

Clasically trained in London and influenced by Miles Davis, James Brown, and Malcolm X, Fela Kuti became a champion for the people. He was arrested more than 200 times and savagely beaten for his political outspokeness. Here's a bit about the latest, must-read book deconstructing this legendary figure and his whirl:

Get Arrest the Music here via
"Arrest the Music! is a lively study of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, one of Africa's most popular and controversial musicians. The flamboyant originator of the "Afrobeat" sound and self-proclaimed voice of the voiceless, Fela used music, sharp-tongued lyrics, and derisive humor to challenge the shortcomings of the Nigerian and postcolonial African states.

Looking at the social context, instrumentation, lyrics, visual art, and people through which Fela produced his music, author Tejumola Olaniyan offers a wider, more suggestive perspective on Fela and his impact on listeners in all parts of the world. With Fela front and center, Olaniyan underscores important social issues such as authenticity, racial and cultural identity, the relationship of popular culture to radical politics, and the meaning of postcolonialism, nationalism, and globalism in contemporary Africa.

About the Author: Tejumola Olaniyan is Professor of English and African Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is author of Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance: The Invention of Cultural Identities in African, African-American, and Caribbean Drama and co-editor (with John Conteh-Morgan) of African Drama and Performance (Indiana University Press, 2004)."

For more book info log on to:

To hear Fela Kuti's music, click in the sidebar section, on the cover art titled, BEST Best of Fela.

And please do not sleep the CD Red, Hot + Riot. This musical tribute to Fela features his son Femi Kuti, who's joined by a super-tight line up of artists: Bilal, Macy Gray, Roy Hargrove, Nile Rodgers, Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Common, Baaba Maal, Kelis, D'Angelo, Talib Kweli. Proceeds from sales support AIDS awareness.

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like


Blogger said...

dope site.. big time..
fela is off the chain no doubt.. im really feeling femi to the fullest.. that fight to win cd was powerful..

4:11 PM  
Blogger afrofunkycool said...

how about checking out other afro beat players like my starving self!!!!

modern and open minded jams.

6:00 AM  

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