Monday, October 15, 2018

Kalakuta, Here I Come: Fela 80

Let's continue the Oktoberfestivities with post #2 of three in a row, all dealing with milestone birthdays ending in zeroes.
Our current honoree would have been 80 today, and is pretty much the universal choice for Most Beloved Musician In The History Of Nigeria.
One of the most most militant badasses ever to exist in any context, he's the only music person I can think of that effectively seceded from his country of origin, declaring himself and his comrades free of Nigeria and that they were residents of what he declared to be The Kalakuta Republic.
He was beaten, his mother was killed, and he and his friends were thrown into jail for their trouble. Luckily, before all this happened, he invented an entire genre of music called Afrobeat.
Surely the only African musician ever to have a hit musical show on Broadway all about his life, I'm sitting here trying to think of one more notable and revered than this guy. And I am coming up with a blank.
Look at that spliff, will you? Paul McCartney just did an interview in which he told the story of the time he went to Lagos and smoked with the man, describing it as the highest he's ever been or ever will be.
In fact, if I had to name the numero uno, most famous musician in the history of all of Africa, I might go with Fela Anikulapo Kuti, born this day in 1938.
To celebrate, I have clouded a sizzler of a compilation I have had in my phone for years, based on this bootleg, two-volume Japanese set I used to have 25 years ago and which funked many a party back in the day.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Funkiest Grooves
expanded 2020 edition

01 Fefe Naa Efe
02 Fear Not for Man
03 Open & Close
04 Expensive Shit
05 Sorrow Tears and Blood
06 Upside Down

01 Go Slow
02 Opposite People
03 Water No Get Enemy
04 Yellow Fever
05 My Lady Frustration
06 Black Man's Cry

01 Let's Start
02 Shenshema
03 No Poi (1975 Version)
04 Buy Africa
05 Gentleman
06 Colonial Mentality
07 Kalakuta Show

01 Stalemate
02 No Agreement
03 I No Get Eye for Back
04 Mr. Grammarticalogylisationalism Is the Boss
05 Confusion (edit)

Total time: 5:12:45

EN reconstruction and embellishment of the early 1990s compilation Fela's Funkiest Grooves on the Japanese Victor label, sourced from The Complete Works of Fela Anikulapo Kuti box set on the Wrasse label
I'll be back tomorrow with someone born precisely one day after Fela, but your focus right now should be on his 80th birthday and just how seriously my little (EDIT: after I added a CD to it in 2020, it's only five hours long) mixtape is gonna funk up your Monday!--J.
10.15.1938 - 8.2.1997