Afrobeat Legend Lives Forever!
Written by CosoroRadio on December 15, 2020
Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997) was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist. He is best known as a pioneer of the Afrobeat genre, a blend of traditional yoruba and Afro-Cuban music with funk and jazz. At the height of his popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers”. AllMusic described him as “a musical and sociopolitical voice” of international significance.
Fela was the son of Nigerian women’s rights activist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. After early experiences abroad, he and his band Africa ’70 (including drummer Tony Allen) became stars in Nigeria during the 1970s, during which time he was an outspoken critic and target of Nigeria’s military junta. In 1970, he founded the Kalakuta Republic commune, which declared itself independent from military rule and was destroyed in a violent 1977 raid. Since his death in 1997, reissues and compilations of his music have been overseen by his son Femi Kuti.