Tuesday, August 11, 2009
OPEN YOUR MIND CASE 11: Fela
The man who carried death in his pocket, Fela Anikulapo Kuti was a champion of the masses, the common man, a visionary entertainer who captivated his grown audiences with his saxophone like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Only God knows what the landscape or political climate of Nigeria and possibly Africa would be like today if this celebrated musician did not succumb to complications due to the HIV virus. He was never afraid to challenge the oppressors through his witty, sincere lyricism accompanied by beautiful music- beautiful in the sense that the music can stand alone and still converse with you via the instruments. The sad irony is that a strong majority of the topics he addressed in his music are common in a corruption plagued Nigeria... I mean how does a disgraced president become elected for the same position decades later? I remember hearing stories about the shrine, a locale where Fela recurrently performed with his band. The interesting thing about this locale is the sort of people that gravitated to this establishment. Ambassadors, diplomats and generally people of importance frequented this club to be serenaded by Afro-beat and copus amounts of ganja. Peep footage shot by Ginger Baker of Cream acclaim of Fela & Afrika 70 performing in southeastern Nigerian town of Calabar shortly after the Biafran war (Nigeria’s Civil War). Check for people making it rain (well barely), back home we call it spraying.