Fela Fela Fela

Lets take some time out to appreicate the legend and art of Fele Kuti. Today is his Birthday why not pay homage to someone who was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rightsactivist, and political maverick. he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a fusion of jazzand highlife.

In 1967, he went to Ghana to think up a new musical direction. That was when Kuti first called his music Afrobeat. In 1969, Fela took the band to the United States. While there, Fela discovered the Black Power movement through Sandra Smith (now Izsadore)—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 was tipped off by a promoter that Fela and his band were in the U.S. without work permits. The band then performed a quick recording session in Los Angeles that would later be released as The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions.

After Fela and his band returned to Nigeria, the band was renamed The Africa ’70, as lyrical themes changed from love to social issues.  He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, acommune, a recording studio, and a home for many connected to the band that 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 Anikulapa 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.

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