Fela Anikulapo Kuti was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist who made phenomenal strides in the mid to late 90’s on the musical scene in Africa, and the world for that matter.
Born October 15, 1938, at Abeokuta, Nigeria, and died on August 2, 1997. He is best known as a pioneer of the Afrobeat genre, a blend of traditional Yoruba and Afro-Cuban music with funk and jazz. A genre of music that has been modernized and fine-tuned by many new age musical artistes in Nigeria like Davido, Wizkid, Burna Boy amongst many others. At the height of Fela’s popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers”
Rise of Fela Kuti Musical and Political Influence
Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as the “Underground” Spiritual Game. As his musical career developed, so too did his political influence throughout the world. In turn, the religious aspect of his musical approach grew. Fela was a part of an Afro-Centric consciousness movement that was founded on and delivered through his music.
Fela Kuti Biggest Hits
Fela Kuti has made some of the best music that history will always remember him for. As far as making the most rhythmic, lyrically captivating and thought-provoking records, Fela was legendary. With smashing records such as; Why Black Man Dey Suffer (1971), Open & Close (1971), Shakara (1972), Afrodisiac (1973), Gentleman (1973), Confusion (1975), He Miss Road (1975), Water No Get Enemy (1975), Zombie (1977), Sorrow Tears and Blood (1977), Shuffering and Shmiling (1978), Black President (1981), Original Sufferhead (1981), Unknown Soldier (1981), Army Arrangement (1985), Beasts of No Nation (1989), Confusion Break Bones (1990) among many others, Fela was undoubtedly a music maestro according to many.
Fela Kuti Death
Fela Kuti left behind seven children behind; Femi Kuti, Yeni Kuti, Seun Kuti, Kunle Kuti, Motunrayo Anikulapo Kuti, Sola Anikulapo-Kuti, and Omosalewa Anikulapo. He however died of heart failure in 1997, even though it was public knowledge at the time that he also suffered from AIDS.
The impact that the Legendary Fela Kuti has had on the musical and socio-political landscape of the African continent is one that mere words cannot seem to appropriately qualify and quantify, even as his legacy continues to echo through the ages and live on through generations.