The beat stopped 18 years ago when the enigma, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti joined the saints. His legacy is one many great men could have dreamed of. His songs live in our hearts, his voice echoes in our ears and while his fears continue to live with us, he rests in peace.
Christened Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome Kuti when he was born in October 15, 1938 to the family of Josiah Jesse Ransome Kuti and his wife, Olufunmilayo. His father, with his rare gift of music was acknowledged to be Nigeria’s first gospel musician known as JJ. His mother, Olufunmilayo, arguably the doyen of women activism in Nigeria has been recorded in history as the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria. He passed on August 2, 1977. He later became very popular as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti or simply Fela.
Fela, with critical albums including Sorrow Tears and BLO*D, Opposite People, Sorrow Tears and BLO*D, Coffin for Head of State, Shuffering and Shmiling, Zombie, Music Is the Weapon of the Future, Gentleman, Army Arrangement among others.
Fela was an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, musician and composer. He pioneered the genre of music known as Afro beat. He was a fashion icon, activist and iconoclast in all respects. Many believed Fela was the last of his kind- creative and critical of bad government and lack of human rights. In recognition of his music and struggle for mankind, the United States Congress recently honoured him, a recognition coming on the heels of the successful Broadway show, FELA!
Sleep well, our Titan of Music!