musicology #305


(Fela Kuti – Mistake – Live)

Day two of the theme has an element of synchronicity for me as the performance was recorded in Berlin…what has that got to do with anything I hear you say? well not only does one of my most valued ‘brethren’ live there but the woman in my life is there today working on/at the film festival. Couldn’t resist or pass up this ‘oppo’ to throw down a second piece on themusicologist by the legend that is, Fela Kuti.

Recorded in 1978 a year after his Kalakuta Republic had been destroyed by a thousand soldiers during which horror his elderly mother had been thrown out of a window suffering fatal injuries with Fela almost being beaten to death for his non-stop scathing critique of Nigerian politics. Word has it that after the tour most of the band left him as he intended to use all the proceeds to fund his election campaign.

Perhaps THE most political musician of all time Fela was his own project and an ‘Existentialist’ in the truest sense. NEVER allowing anyone to deny him the freedom to say and do what he thought right. The hugely influential philosopher Martin Heidegger spoke about Authenticity in relation to one’s life and for themusicologist Fela lived life in a way that, (among others), Heidegger would have been proud of.


musicology #168

malevocals2 #6

(Fela Kuti – Sorrow, Tears & Blood)

didn’t throw one down yesterday…late night Friday and then headed straight out of ‘the smoke’ for some country air…slept for most of the day and be the time we returned it was too late.

this last cut of the malevocals is a song that has been getting a lot of exposure over the last few weeks and even though the cat in question may not be especially well known for his singing it was as a vocalist that he began his career.

as far as legends go ‘Fela’ stood as tall as anyone. almost singlehandedly inventing, (along with drummer Tony Allen), the genre known as ‘AfroBeat’. the life and times of Fela Kuti are well documented so i’ll leave it down to the music to provide an insight into the man.

taken from his 1977 album ‘Sorrow, Tears & Blood’ this is the title track about political conditions in his homeland. to say that Fela was an activist and thorn in the side of the government is an understatement for a man who was beaten to within an inch of his life, imprisoned on trumped up charges and hounded at every turn. but it never stopped him making powerful, immortal slices of music that communicated on many levels.

Fela was and still is an example of how music is the most effective form of communicating the message and is, as far as I’m concerned, the only ‘language’ that transcends all ‘boundries’

“Everybody run, run, run
everybody scatter, scatter….”