Fela Anikulapo Kuti, born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, (1938 – 1997) was a Nigerian bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist. He is regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat, an African music genre that combines West African music with Funk and Jazz.
More on Wikipedia
“Music is supposed to have an effect. If you’re playing music and people don’t feel something, you’re not doing shit. That’s what African music is about. When you hear something, you must move. I want to move people to dance, but also to think. Music wants to dictate a better life, against a bad life. When you’re listening to something that depicts having a better life, and you’re not having a better life, it must have an effect on you.”
As far as Africa is concerned music cannot be for enjoyment.
Music has to be for revolution.
Music is the weapon.
Kuti’s lyrics expressed his inner thoughts. His rise in popularity throughout the 1970s signaled a change in the relation between music as an art form and Nigerian socio-political discourse.
Where does his name “Fela Anikulapo Kuti” come from?
In the 70s, after returning to Nigeria, Fela created the Afrika Shrine, both to perform and to officiate at personalised Yoruba ceremonies.
He then changed his name to Anikulapo, that translates to “He who carries death in his pouch“, meaning “I will be the master of my own destiny and will decide when it is time for death to take me.”
Listen to Fela Kuti on AMF.
See also: Fela and his Queens.
Photo credit: unknown