Eric Blair Presents – Daily Knowledge: Fela Kuti (Day 17)
Fela Kuti was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, and human rights activist. The musical style performed by Fela which is a complex fusion of Jazz, Funk (especially the music of James Brown), Ghanaian/Nigerian High-life, psychedelic rock, and traditional West African chants and rhythms. Afrobeat also borrows heavily from the native “tinker pan” African-style percussion that Kuti acquired while studying in Ghana with Hugh Masakela, under the uncanny Hedzoleh Soundz. Kuti thought that the most important thing for Africans to fight is European cultural imperialism, Kuti being a supporter of traditional religions and lifestyles. The American Black Power movement influenced Fela’s political views. He was also a supporter of Pan-Africanism and socialism, and called for a united, democratic African republic. He was a candid supporter of human rights, and many of his songs are direct attacks against dictatorships, specifically the militaristic governments of Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a social commentator, and he criticized his fellow Africans (especially the upper class) for betraying traditional African culture.