Were he still alive today, 15 October, would have been Fela Kuti’s 75th birthday. To this day the legacy of the Afrobeat originator lives on across the globe with his ever-relevant, forthright political views and powerful music.
Fittingly, today sees the release of the final tranche of Fela re-issue albums (‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’, ‘Original Suffer Head / ITT’, ‘Live In Amsterdam’, Army Arrangement’, ‘Beasts Of No Nation / ODOO’, ‘Underground System’) as well as the ‘Red Hot + Fela’ compilation which features interpretations of Fela tunes by a raft of top drawer artists including Angelique Kidjo, ?uestlove (The Roots), M1 (Dead Prez), Spoek Mathambo, tUnE-yArDs, Nneka, Kronos Quartet, Tony Allen, Baloji, Chance The Rapper, My Morning Jacket and others. All profits of from this album go towards HIV/AIDS education and relief worldwide.
To honour Fela, worldwide Felabration events are taking place including a week-long Felabration festival in Lagos organised by the Kuti family at the New Afrika Shrine, 13 Felabration concerts across the US, one in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and one in London (full details to be announced soon).
A number of celebrity vlogs have also been collected which show artists and other personalities, including Paul McCartney, Brian Eno and George Clinton, known to hold Fela in high esteem, saluting the Nigerian icon and talking about their favourite Fela song. These will be released in batches throughout this week via the official Fela You Tube channel: http://youtube.com/fela
Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs