Wow, so much can be said about Fela Kuti. Fela, as he preferred to be called, was more than a musician. He was a politcal activist & pure socialist amoung other things. To much surprise, my introduction to Fela was just a few short years ago while djing a party for a friend. I needed something new to incorporate in my House sets. So, I called fellow friend, DJ Nabani and asked him to bring over some records that he thought I'd might enjoy. Around 12, in comes Nabani with a couple of records that had weird looking labels on them. Some said Afro-Beat and others said Fela. All he said was "trust me" and I did. It has been history ever since.
It's almost impossible to overstate the impact and importance of Fela Anikulapo (Ransome) Kuti (or just Fela as he's more commonly known) to the global musical village: producer, arranger, musician, political radical, outlaw. He was all that, as well as showman par excellence, inventor of Afro-beat, an unredeemable sexist, and a moody megalomaniac. His death on August 3, 1997 of complications from AIDS deeply affected musicians and fans internationally, as a musical and sociopolitical voice on a par with Bob Marley was silenced. A press release from the United Democratic Front of Nigeria on the occasion of Fela's death noted: "Those who knew you well were insistent that you could never compromise with the evil you had fought all your life. Even though made weak by time and fate, you remained strong in will and never abandoned your goal of a free, democratic, socialist Africa." This is as succinct a summation of Fela's political agenda as one is likely to find.
Below is one of my favorite songs from Fela. It is called "True Don Die". Enjoy and feel what he was trying to say through his music. This song is also a great song for House sets!!!