Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Fela Kuti


He was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria. His Family was of the Yoruba tribe. His father and father before him were ministers of the Protestant Church.

Fela went to the Trinity School of Music in London where unlike his siblings he studied music not medicine and like so many others from Africa realized that his needs were greater than study and belonged to his roots.

There are many popular African musicians that have impacted the way musicians everywhere hear music, play music, and chose to influence generations.

Fela Kuti has had notable mention in many hip hop albums as well as blues and R&B.

So, the question becomes who was Fela Kuti and what did he do to motivate so many?

Fela returned to Nigeria in 1963 which was the time of great social change all over the world. Fela become involved with members of the black panther movement and combined his rich knowledge of African history and Afro American turmoil to create music in Nigeria that would guide people through the boundaries of language and expression and liberate the ideas that there was room for African Art as well for European.

Fela was by no means a passive man and began many revolutionary projects in his life. The Kalakuta Republic was his motion to begin an independent state.

Fela was renoun for songs like "Zombie" and "Lady".
in which lyrics posed certain revelations about the circumstance of modern mans' confusion and quest for enlightenment.

Lyrics Like:


"Zombie won't go unless you tell him to go
Zombie won't stop unless you tell him to stop
Zombie won't turn, unless you tell him to turn
Zombie won't think, unless you tell him to think
Tell him go straight - march, march, march
No Brains, no sense - march, march, march
Tell him go kill - march, march, march
No brains, no sense - march, march, march
Tell him go die - march, march, march.."


"If you call her a "woman"
African woman will not agree
She says "I am a Lady.."

Some of the word usage mixes tribal verse with modern ideas and definitions that can easily be trodded upon by bad translations and too objective observers. But for all intents and purposes does respectfully illustrate some common misconceptions about gender identifications in African culture.

Him can be a term used for a woman
she can likewise be a term used for a "man". The identification process has more to do with character than with anatomy..

These modest distinctions can be more readily comprehended by listening to his music rather than analyzing statements to firmly.

'The best of Fela Kuti'
is a 2 cd recording of 13 songs. Strong Afro Jazz music is played in extended durations with minimal but poignant lyrical proclaimations along the way. Musically and lyrically Fela speaks of the times and performs of journeys with total clarity.

Like many great musicians he too was a visionary a man who saw into the wide open field of the sky and spoke of what would come to pass. These times are bringing new understanding of those that were so often misunderstood. Likewise artists are finding new leadership from the other side. Its never to late to listen.

It is never too late to learn.

this is an audio post - click to play


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