August 7, 2017famous fela anikulapo kuti

Do you know Fela was once a presidential aspirant in Nigeria

Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, famously known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti was a legend in Nigeria entertainment industry known as Nollywood. He was born into the family of Reverend Father Israel and Olufunmilayo Oladotun Ransome-Kuti. His father demeanor was Anglican Minister and Principal of Abeokuta Boys’ Grammar School and his mother was a Feminist and Civil Right Activist whose menace with the Alake of Egbaland was remarkable and also went into extradition.

History will had been reverted for Fela, initially sent to London to study medicine as his two brothers, Beko and Olikoye was medical doctors but Fela preferred to study music at Trinity college due to his love for trumpet. This is how he began his journey into becoming multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, and pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre which he was active in-between the year 1958 to 1997.

Afrobeat is a music genre developed in 1970’s out of a consortium of West African Musical Styles such as highlife and Yoruba with American funk and jazz with a focus on chanted vocals and percussion. Fela Kuti popularized the style both in Nigeria and Abroad. Dwelling more on Afrobeat which was originated from fuji, heavy Nigerian drumbeats, Ghananian Highlife. And then later exported to the Southern part of Nigeria in the 1970’s by no one other than Fela who gave out the test with different forms of contemporary music of the time. This helped in establishing the Afrika shrine with the new sound giving the airwave of his club.

Fela returned back to Nigeria to form Koola Lobitos, after he was trained as radio producer in the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation where he played with Victor Olaiya and his stars. He went to Ghana to mind up a new musical direction, that was when he gave the name Afrobeat to his music. In 1969, he took his brand to United States where he spent 10 months in Los Angeles. There, Fela met the Black Power movement which Sandra Smith was active, this experience have a great influence on him on his music and political anticipation. Fela moved his band named Nigeria ’70 back to Nigeria due to a reason known to the Immigration and Neutralization service. Down the line, he formed Kalakuta Republic, a recording Studio and a place where people can connect with the brand.

This drew the reflect of Paul Gilory in his book, The Black Atlantic: “We are moving toward an African majority which is diverse both in its cultural habits and in its relationship to colonial and post-colonial governance, so the shift away from Caribbean dominance heeds to be placed in that setting. Most of the grime folks are African Kids either the children of migrants or migrants themselves. It is not clear what African might mean to them.” Fela’s music was circumspect and popular among the Africans and Nigeria at home because he went down to speak pidgin English so as to converse with his black race with his music because of diverse and numerous languages in the various countries in Africa.

Activism was in the blood of Fela Kuti, he was a political giant in Africa from the 70s until his demise; he criticized the corruption of top officials in the Nigeria government. He also spoke against colonialism as the root of crisis, Nigeria is facing in terms of socio-economic and political that had compounded the African’s problem. He was arrested, beaten, imprisoned, tortured and abused for giving out his thought, even destroyed his shrine and injured his intimate family for the songs he sang in Yabi’s night on every Thursday where he hold his audience to the fullest.
He didn’t stopped at this , he ran a political columns in the advertising corners title ‘Chief Priest Say’ where he addressed many topics on the extensions of his famous Yabi sessions in the night club from the explosive secrets of the government’s criminal way of life, multinational corporation vices, Religion (Islam & Christianity) misdeeds, poverty, sex and pollution, which was later cut-short from the Daily Times and Punch due to much persuasions from powerful strong men from quarters to stop the publication.

Fela was once a presidential aspirant in 1979 where he put himself forward to become the President but the candidature was rejected with the creation of movement of the people in the view to clean up society like a mob which was mass political party with “Nkrumahism” and “Africanism”. With all his dream to make his society to be free from captivity in the hands of opposition forces within his country and colonial masters through his music and thoughts, he only dreamt but never come to realization after 20 years of his remembrance.

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Muhammed Temitayo Abdulrofiu
Muhammed Temitayo Abdulrofiu
ABDULROFIU MUHAMMED TEMITAYO, is a trained journalist whose passion to unveiled truth has often led in to cover hot and breaking news. He's objective and thorough in his research about his articles. When he's not writing, he love chatting and meeting with people.

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