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Fela Kuti Remembering the Afrobeat legend 20 years after he passed away

Fela Anikulapo Kuti is known for pioneering the Afrobeat sound, a genre of music that combines American Soul, Funk and Jazz with elements of African Highlife.

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Fela Kuti showing his mastery skills on the piano play

Fela Kuti showing his mastery skills on the piano

(Getty Images)

Today Wednesday, August 2, 2017 marks 20 years since the legendary Fela Kuti passed on to glory on August 2, 1997.

Fela remains  a national music icon for his Afrobeat sound which originated as far back as  the 1960s and whose influences stemmed from American Jazz and Funk, complementing the local chanted vocals, African drums, horns, and percussion among other instruments.

The chants and rhythm of the melodies, going with a back and forth differentiates the Afrobeat sound from the Soul music popularized by American performing act James Brown from which it borrowed a leaf.

Fela was un-repentantly outspoken against the Nigerian corrupt government play

Fela with his music was un-repentantly outspoken against the Nigerian corrupt government

(Pulse)

 

He is also revered for his songwriting, a gift which got him into many troubled waters with the people he spoke out against.

Fela chiefly used this rich sound as a voice of activism, speaking out boldly with his music against bad governance in his country Nigeria. He is widely regarded as a charismatic performer, as he travelled from one continent to the other with his Egypt 70s band  captivating the audience with his music and fascinating dancers.

play Fela with his dancers were always a delight to watch (36-states.com)

In 1963, Fela formed a band called Koola Lobitos, a name he later changed to Afrika 70, and again to Egypt 80.

A movie was attempted to be made about the life of the musician but the materials were burnt to the ground by the military force who he sang against with his music.

The New Afrika Shrine stage play

The New Afrika Shrine stage

(Afrotourism)

 

A New Afrika shrine built to celebrate the life of Fela is sitting in central Lagos . The old shrine was also brought down in the 1970s by Fela’s detractors. The new shrine has become a regular performing ground for Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti, both sons of the late legend.

It’s also being used to commemorate Fela around his birth month – A week long festival tagged Felabration sees variety of events organized including music performances by emerging and established artists all to celebrate and show love for Fela.

Yeni Kuti showcasing Fela's range of shoes at the Kalakuta museum play

Yeni Kuti showcasing Fela's range of shoes at the Kalakuta museum

(AFP/Punch)

 

The Kalakuta republic, now a museum was once home for the Afrobeat legend. Located in Ikeja, memorabilia of the singer has become not only a performing rehearsal ground for Seun Kuti but also a site where tourists can come through to explore and purchase some Fela souvenir along the way.

The Kalakuta republic is now a museum showcasing collectibles of Fela Kuti play

The Kalakuta republic is now a museum showcasing collectibles of Fela Kuti

(AFP/Punch)

 

Fela’s music till date lives on with Nigerian artists as well as international acts continuing to be influenced by that Afrobeat sound, sampling it in their music.

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