17 Years After Death, Fela Lives

felakutiAugust 2, 2014 makes it 17 years since the pioneer of Afro-beat music genre, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, passed away, however, his music continues to inspire millions across the world.

The prominent Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, died on August 2, 1997 at the age of 58.

Some of his hit songs include Open and Close, Sorrow Tears and Blood, Water No Get Enemy, Upside Down, Coffin for Head of State, International Thief Thief and Observation is no Crime.

Since his death, Fela’s music has influenced millions of fans both in Nigeria and all over the world.

Fela fearlessly criticised Nigeria’s government and religious elite over corruption, poverty, exploitation and social maladies. His struggle made him an icon of the black power movement. His songs repeatedly landed him in trouble with the authorities, including arrests and the allegedly burning of his compound, by soldiers.

Fela was married to 27 women on the same day, most of them his dancers.

In immortalising  his name, the Lagos State government provided the family with N40 million  (200,000 euros, $250,000) to set up a museum in Fela’s memory – which was opened in 2012, during “Felebration”, an annual series of events honouring Fela on his birthday

Fela’s nightclub in the Empire Hotel, first named the Afro-Spot and then the Afrika Shrine, where he both performed regularly, continues to be one of the major tourist attractions in Lagos.

His sons,Femi Kuti, who is the first son and Seun Kuti, the last son have followed in the foot-prints of the music legend. fela 2 fela 4
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Fela’s Kalakuta home turned museum

The home of Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti was on Monday unveiled as a museum with the support of the Lagos State Government to mark his 74th posthumous birthday and  promote cultural heritage.

Located on No 8, Gbemisola Street, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, the museum which is named “Kalakuta Museum” contains items such as Fela’s unique stage costumes, dozens of his shoes and covers of albums released by the late musician.

Various portrait pictures of him and his family and other household items used while he was alive are also on display.

The burial site of the late Afro-beat legend is also within the refurbished compound.

Speaking at the event,the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Government Relations, Disun Holloway said, “it is only appropriate to have chosen a day as this to declare this monument open today to mark the 74th posthumous birthday of the legendary musician.”

“It is the beginning of Felabration – a week long series of festivities to celebrate a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician, human activist,tourism stakeholder and political maverick.”

“This is a deliberate attempt at bringing the old social life back to Lagos through the creation of places of relaxation within safe and secure environment. As demonstrated by the involvement of the state government in this museum, it is pertinent to reiterate our commitment towards boosting tourism” Mr Holloway stated.

Making his own remark, Femi Kuti, son of the late Afro-beat legend, applauded the Lagos state government for its support and emphasized that the museum would only serve its value if the legacies his father fought for were realised.

Fela Kuti’s outsized personality and social activism made him a hero to many while he was still alive, and his funeral in the city of Lagos drew massive crowds, fifteen years ago.

Watch below video for more details.

Apologise for killing my grandmum before putting her face on naira, Seun Kuti tells FG

Popular Afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti has asked the Federal Government to apologise to his family for the death of his grandmother, Funmilayo Kuti before considering immortalising her by putting her picture on the proposed N5000 note.

Responding to questions from fans and friends on Channels Television’s hangout via Google+, Seun Kuti said his grandmother was murdered by the Federal Government.

“She was murdered by the Federal Government, her house was burnt down on that same day, two of her children were brutalised, almost killed on that same day and the family have not receive any apology or compensation, most especially justice for such atrocity,” he said.

He said that the decision to put his grandmother’s picture on the proposed N5000 note after 50 years of her death is “ludicrous to say the least.”

When asked what kind of justice his family is demanding, Seun Kuti said: “First, the Federal Government has to accept that they were the cause of her death. The official statement that they are still giving us is that she was murdered by 1, 000 unknown soldiers who stormed the Kalakuta Republic.”

Fela lives on….fifteen years after

Today marks the fifteenth death anniversary of late Afro-beat King, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

The week long Felabration ceremony to celebrate the icon kicks off today with the Thursday Rehearsal Blast at the The New Afrika Shrine with a special performance by Femi Kuti.

Born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, on the 15th of October, 1938, the artist was popularly known as Fela Kuti, and during and after his lifetime, emerged as one of Africa’s greatest musician and performer.

The Afro-beat legend, whose legacy continues to live on, passed away on the 2nd of August, 1997 and was announced dead by his brother the former Health Minister, Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, citing HIV/AIDS as the cause of death.

Fela formed the Kalakuta Republic and also set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel, named the Afro-Spot and later re-named Afrika Shrine, where he performed regularly.

His genre of music; Afrobeat, is a complex fusion of Jazz, Ghanaian/Nigerian High-life, and traditional West African chants and rhythms.

He mostly sang in Pidgin English but he also performed a few songs in his native Yoruba language and English language.

Fela was also an instrumentalist playing saxophone and keyboards to his rich Afro-beat lyrics. He also played the trumpet, electric guitar, and occasionally beats the drum.

Fela was an avid supporter of human rights and many of his songs were directly critical of corruption in government and against dictatorships across Africa. He was also very critical of the military governments in Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s.

As a traditionalist, Fela  was also very critical of African elite for betraying traditional African culture.