Fela Kuti is a legend and I don’t think I’ll be able to do him the justice he deserves in a short blog post. Fela Kuti is one of those guys you need to spend a lot of time with. He has an endless amount of music material that would take days, weeks, months even, to spend the kind of quality time needed to truly understand his music and the incredible path he paved. In the admittedly short period of time I’ve spent listening to him, just barely scratching the surface, I came across one album that stood out and seems like a good entry point for those unfamiliar with him. It’s a live album recorded with Ginger Baker (Drummer from Cream). Part of what may be contributing to this album’s appeal for me is that some of Ginger Baker’s time with Fela Kuti was featured in the epic documentary about Ginger Baker’s life called, Beware of Mr. Baker.
Listen to ‘Let’s Start’…
Listen and stream the full album, Fela Kuti with Ginger Baker Live!…
Tracklist for Fela Kuti with Ginger Baker Live!…
1. Let’s Start
2. Black Man’s Cry
3. Ye Ye De Smell
4. Egbe Mi O (Carry Me I Want To Die)
5. Ginger Baker and Tony Allen Drum Solo
More about Fela Kuti via fela.net…
Throughout his life, Fela contended that AfroBeat was a modern form of danceable, African classical music with an urgent message for the planet’s denizens. Created out of a cross-breeding of Funk, Jazz, Salsa and Calypso with Juju, Highlife and African percussive patterns, it was to him a political weapon.
Fela refused to bow to the music industry’s preference for 3-minute tracks, nor did he buckle under entreaties to moderate his overwhelmingly political lyrics. He went down in 1997 still railing against the consumerist gimmicks that taint pop music, with the aim, he felt, of promoting and imposing homogeneous aesthetic standards worldwide, thereby inducing passivity.
The fact that AfroBeat is today globally winning hearts in its original form – lengthy, ably crafted, earthy compositions laced with explicitly political lyrics – suggests that Fela’s purgatory on earth may have served to awaken a sensibility in people to appreciate authenticity and substance.
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