From Publishers Weekly
Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti became a global superstar in the 1970s with his "Afrobeat" fusion of funk, jazz and Yoruba motifs. A counter-cultural icon, he scandalized Nigerian society with his pot-smoking, his sexually explicit lyrics and stage act, and his marriage to 27 of his dancers and back-up singers at once. And he was a staunch opponent of the Nigerian dictatorship and Western neo-colonialism in Africa (one song denounced water and electricity shortages, the United Nations Special Program for Third World Countries and the replacement of food crops by cash crops), a stance that earned him a series of beatings and imprisonments. This collection of essays and interviews explores the larger-than-life persona of Fela and his impact on world music and Nigerian culture. Joseph Patel posits Fela's music as the "primordial mass" from which house, techno and hip-hop sprang, tracing his influence through the minutiae of never-released recording sessions. John Collins gives a disturbing glimpse of life at Fela's Lagos commune, where he regularly had his acolytes beaten, while dele jegede paints a vivid portrait of the singer's charismatic stage presence. Yomi Durotoye applies heavy-handed critical theory to Fela's political lyrics (the line "Notin special about uniform" achieves "the obliteration of the space between the binary oppositions of domination"). The most interesting essays debate Fela's oft-expressed opinion that authentic African women are subservient to men, a view vigorously contested by Nkiru Nzegwu, who notes the traditional independence of Nigerian women. While the collection leaves open the question of whether drugs, sex and Afrobeat contribute to a coherent world-view, it provides a fascinating window onto the cultural politics of the developing world. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"...the book's diversity of perspectives is part of what makes it click."-Malcolm Venable, Black Issues Book Review
"...a fascinating window onto the cultural politics of the developing world."--Publishers Weekly Annex, 7/21/03
"Fela Anikulapo Kuti was James Brown, Huey Newton, Rick James, Bob Marley Duke Ellington and ODB all rolled up in one black African fist. The protest artist as a real live, awake and hungry human being. Africa's original rock superstar. The importance vitality and power of his work can not be overestimated. A pure blend of ancestry and modern marvel . If you don't know about Fela you surely need to find out now...!" -- Mos Def
“An amazing compendium of work about the seminal 20th century African musical icon and activist.” --Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, author of Willow Weep for Me
“This is an excellent collection of articles on FELA, it gives so many angles for us to understand one of the most crucial African figures of this age.” -- Angelique Kidjo
"This book is a trippy excursion into the world of conscious hero and musical icon Fela Kuti -- a must-read for all music lovers and people who care about the history and future of Africa and Africans around the world." -- Ahmir 'uestlove Thompson, The Roots