Born in 1938 to a prominent Nigerian family, Fela quickly immersed himself in music, and was able to travel to London to study it at The Trinity College. Following this he began to work as a trumpeter and bandleader, and by the late 60s he stood out as one of west Africa’s most innovative and energetic musicians. His career saw him release dozens of Jazz, Highlife and Afrobeat records, right up until the 1990s before his death in 1997. Throughout his life he also gained a reputation as a political activist, pushing for an end to imperialist oppression across Africa, and greater human rights for its citizens.
Due to last week’s special #MUSICTuesday, what I had planned before has been served to you all today. Not much to say here that hasn’t already been heard, but if you haven’t heard this collaboration yet then you’re really missing out on some good music. Wizkid + Drake + Skepta?? That’s 3 different continents’ worth of music people.
Today marks twenty years since Fela Kuti sadly passed away. He may not be with us in the physical but his
legacy is very much alive and present today. Many African artists are musicians
today because of the musical influence that Fela had on them from a young age, some even incorporate or try to
incorporate his sound into their music and till today many homes in
Nigeria and Abroad still blast Fela
through their speakers appreciating the sweet sounds that he made.
Last year, I had the opportunity to
meet Dele Sosimi (akeyboards player in Fela’s Egypt 80 band),
Allen (who played
with Fela from the early 1960s) and Lemi Ghariokwu (the talented graphic artist behind
some of the amazing Fela Kuti’s album sleeves) and it was such an honour to hear some
of their memories about Fela Kuti and
have the opportunity to ask them questions about him. They gave us an insight
that is not necessarily captured on some documentaries or articles.
As we continue to blast Fela’s music through our speakers and be influenced by him, may his
legacy continue to live on.
“Music is a weapon of the
future / music is the weapon of the progressives / music is the weapon of the
givers of life”. – Fela Kuti
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