AFRO-BEAT AND HIGHLIFE JAZZ
BOOK REVIEW: Fela Kuti freed his mind (kind of) from slavery
Throughout his life Fela relentlessly sought social justice for ordinary Nigerians
Originally published in 1982 and resurfacing again under the auspices of Rose Francis’s African Perspectives Publishing, this authorised biography of the late Nigerian music icon Fela Kuti is a gripping tale of a colourful, controversial life. Fela: This Bitch of a Life has a foreword by Gilberto Gil and an introduction by Margaret Busby, who were close to the musician. Carlos Moore captures well the life of an activist, musician and philosopher who found himself in and out of Nigerian prisons for being too outspoken. The founder of the Afro-beat sound, infused widely with music from neighbouring Ghana called High Life to create a medley of music, made it difficult and confusing for musicologists and ordinary people alike to define his music. His lyrics were not confusing, though — they clearly defined his social, political and philosophical agenda. Albums such as Zombie, Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense, Mr Follow Follow, Fear Not for Man, Vagabonds in Power, International Thief and...