Fela Kuti Reissues to Begin 2/16


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Fela Kuti

Knitting Factory Records has announced that the first set of Fela Kuti reissues will be released on February 16, 2010. Since the reissues are being made available in chronological order, these six CDs (containing nine albums total) represent the earliest period of the Nigerian legend's oeuvre.

The time span of the releases is 1969 - 1974, the era during which Fela first created the sound he was to call Afrobeat, a music he always contended was a modern form of danceable, African classical music that was created out of a cross-breeding of funk, jazz, salsa, calypso, with juju, highlife and African percussive patterns.

The titles that are being released are:

The '69 L.A. Sessions

Live With Ginger Baker

London Scene/Shakara

Roforofo Fight/+2 Singles

Open & Close/Afrodisiac


These records give the listener a fascinating glimpse into Fela's earliest recordings with his first band, the Highlife group he formed in London called Koola Lobitos, and illustrate the evolution of his Afrobeat sound, his experiments with lengthy improvisation, and his emerging political voice, which was to become more scathing and direct as he got older. All of the titles are remastered and re-released in unique digi-packs with the original artwork.

The reissue series is well timed as it coincides with the critically acclaimed FELA!, the hit Broadway musical that celebrates Fela's life and music. The play, which is leaving sold-out audiences astonished and breathless at the end of every performance, is directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones and produced by Jay-Z and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith. The Eugene O'Neill Theatre has been dressed to look like the Shrine in Nigeria in which Fela performed for many years to his loyal local following and the world-renowned Antibalas and other members of the NYC Afrobeat community, under the direction of Aaron Johnson, perform Fela's music live onstage.

The next group of reissues will be released in the spring.

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