Friday, 10 May 2013

Remembering Fela Kuti's Unique Contribution...

Fela Kuti contributed immensely to popular music. His unique musical talent created a genre that revolutionised dance music. The play Fela told only part of the story. 

Fela's music was so powerful and hypnotic it was hard to ignore. A visit to his Afrika Shrine club in those heady days was a must for every recording star and celebrity that visited Nigeria. The list was endless, Paul and Linda McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Roy Ayres and all the top acts that performed at the first World Black Arts Festival that Nigeria hosted in 1977. Ginger Baker came and ended up staying, hanging out at the Afrika Shrine, jamming with the band and eventually setting up ARC recording studios, the first of it's kind in the whole of Africa.

A gig saluting the first Black President (as he was referred to by the many youths he politicised) is scheduled for next friday, May, 17th at 229, Gt. Portland Street in London's West End. The show will be featuring Tony Allen, the beat behind the Afrobeat, Ginger Baker who got to be a close friend of Fela and Dele Sosimi. They all had the unique experience of working with Fela at the height of his popularity.

Below are some comments from the music press:

“He was a truth-teller of tremendous power. We’ll be hearing a lot about Fela
this year.”
John Masouri – Echoes
“The whole catalogue of 50 albums or so is going to be re-released in three
great, joyous and generous tranches over the next six months by Knitting
Factory Records / Kalakuta Sunrise”
Damian Rafferty –
“It is certainly true that Fela’s music has lost none of its magic and raw energy
since being recorded”
Stephen Williams – African Business
“The Fela Juggernaut keeps rolling.”
Jane Cornwell – Jazzwise
“Before Obama there was Fela. A Nigerian icon and unanimously considered
the King of Afrobeat.”
The Buzz List – Pride magazine
“The legacy stock of Fela Anikulapo Kuti is higher than ever.”
Simon McEwen – Q Magazine
“Any set that opens with a masterpiece, in Everything Scatter, has to be worth
The Sunday Times
This 2CD compilation features epic versions of Kuti anthems.”
The Times
“A slow-burning treat.”
John Lewis – Uncut Magazine
“Nice Felas.”
Record Collector
“Today, Fela’s standing is higher than at any time during his life.”
Neil Spencer – Uncut Magazine
“Long live the Black President’s music. You really cannot argue with this
Isaac Ashe – Loughborough Echo
“Among the most intense ensemble playing – ever.”
The Arts Desk
"The 12 unedited tracks stay true to a delicate balance between classic and
Think Africa Press
"Their greatness is not found in short catchy tunes but the richness of their
overall sound, in which frequently sharp political statements are found
wrapped within arty jam-outs or jazz improvisation ... Great stuff."
Morning Star
"Opening with the near forty year old Everything Scatter which has become
one of the classic Afrobeat tunes and straight into Expensive Shit, the album
is relentless ... One of music’s true geniuses."
9.5/10 Louder Than War
"[The compilation] focuses on lengthy workouts. Go for “Black Man’s Cry”,
then the 16-plus minute “Sorrow Tears and Blood”. After that, home in on the
compilation’s zenith, 1975’s “Everything Scatter” ... some of the music here is
amongst the most intense ensemble playing ever."
The Arts Desk
"A fine place to start one's appreciation of an African musical legend."
**** UK Vibe
"A crucial glimpse for beginners into the African icon's work."
The Quietus
"Everything sounds fresh, upbeat, funky and more importantly, incredibly
modern ... A sleek combination of jazz, soul and tight percussion hasn’t dated
since its original release, essentially making it timeless and still something to
7/10 Virgin
"An unreservedly recommended purchase to the Fela Kuti neophyte ...
Collected here is sulphurous and fiercely funky magic that could hold its own
against all comers, and is likely to provoke obsession within all who hear its
righteous call."
BBC Music
"You will find convincing testimony as to why his music and politics continue
to make him such a vital and enduring icon."
**** Record Collector
".. you need this in your life..."
10/10 DJ Magazine
"This solid double-disc collection ... powerfully represents an icon who faced
down unthinkable oppression with the sass, confidence and irrepressible
genius of his music ."
***** Blues & Soul
“Many descriptions have been attributed to the man who captivated millions
across the world with his outspoken beliefs and oft-criticised personal life, but
the legacy that endures most vividly is that of the radical, awe-inspiring music
that continues to influence a myriad of artists worldwide.”
"12 mighty expositions of the Afrobeat genre including the fiery agitation of
Everything Scatter , a stinging critique of skin bleaching, Yellow Fever , and
an extended brooding Sorrow Tears and Blood about the Soweto riots of
The Irish Times

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