PLAYLIST: Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, in honour of Kuti’s birthday on the 15th of October
Fela Kuti is internationally recognised as the father of Afrobeat and deservedly so. The style of music has been influenced by many styles including African-American funk music, modal jazz, Afro-Carribbean, Nigerian dance-band high life and other indigenous musical styles. Typically, the music contains chanted vocals which were extremely popular in the 1970s when Kuti became responsible for the invention of the style. The lyrics that accompany the music are often sung in Pidgin English and Yoruba. Afrobeat bands can consist of between 15 – 30 pieces including traditional Nigerian instruments such as congas, shekeres and akubas. Repetitiveness, call and response, structured patterns, sudden breaks and solo patterns are all common features that can be heard in Afrobeat.
Fela’s legacy has been continued on today by his sons Femi and Seun as well as by many worldwide artists that have adopted Kuti’s invention of Afrobeat. One of these artists is Tony Allen, Fela’s mentor and one of his greatest musical influences with his uniquely brilliant drumming techniques. While Allen has formed a direct link between the origins of Afrobeat and the use of Afrobeat at present, Femi Kuti is a perfect example of how Afrobeat is moving in new directions and is being mixed with different styles like hip hop and jazz.
Listen to our PLAYLIST that includes a selection of international Afrobeat artists including Kuti, Onyeabor, Souljazz Orchestra and Allen as well as home-grown bands like Ájo Arkestra and Manden Express who have played at our Down With Jazz and Hotter than July festivals.
Fela Kuti - Yellow Fever
Fela Kuti - Water no get enemy
Manden Express - Safo Safo
Ájo Arkestra - Sugar Sessions
William Onyeabor - Fantastic man
Tony Allen - Nepa Dance Dub
The Souljazz Orchestra - Amen
Fela Kuti - V.I.P. (Vagabonds in Power)
Fela Kuti - Sorry Sorry