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AFROBEAT DIARIES

Part 24 - Ghariokwu Lemi: Fela Kuti And Me

Read "Part 24 - Ghariokwu Lemi: Fela Kuti And Me" reviewed by Chris May

In an illuminating interview, artist and sleeve designer Ghariokwu Lemi talks to Afrobeat Diaries about his work and friendship with Fela Kuti. The interview attests to the indelible link between Lemi's designs and Kuti's music, and to a working relationship which, Lemi reveals, broke down only once, over 1977's Sorrow Tears And Blood. The interview is a follow-up to an earlier one given by Lemi to Afrobeat Diaries, The Art Of Afrobeat. Starting with 1974's Alagbon Close, ...

AFROBEAT DIARIES

Part 21 - Final Fela Kuti Masterpieces Reissued

Read "Part 21 - Final Fela Kuti Masterpieces Reissued" reviewed by Chris May

Fela Power Show: Batch 4 is the concluding, eight-disc chapter in Knitting Factory Records' 26-disc reissue program of Fela Anikulapo Kuti albums and early singles. It starts on the 1979/80 cusp of the dissolution of Afrika 70 and the formation of Egypt 80, when Kuti made the landmark Vagabonds In Power (1979), Coffin For Head Of State (1980) and Original Sufferhead (1981). It finishes with three late masterpieces--Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense (1986), Beasts Of No Nation (1989) and Underground ...

AFROBEAT DIARIES

Part 20 - ?uestlove Curates Fela Kuti Vinyl Box

Read "Part 20 - ?uestlove Curates Fela Kuti Vinyl Box" reviewed by Freddy Charles

Fela Anikulapo KutiFela Vinyl Box Set 1Knitting Factory Records2011 With the release of the eight-CD and download collection Fela Power Show: Batch 4, two of the strands in Knitting Factory Records' high-end Fela Kuti reissue project have come to a conclusion. All of Kuti's albums are now available on CD and download (and additionally, via Britain's Wrasse Records, collected in one all-encompassing box set, the 27-disc The Complete Works Of Fela ...

AFROBEAT DIARIES

Part 11 - Knitting Factory releases Fela Kuti "Zombie" batch

Read "Part 11 - Knitting Factory releases  Fela Kuti "Zombie" batch" reviewed by Chris May

Knitting Factory Records' meticulous, immaculately packaged and altogether exemplary Fela Kuti reissue program reaches its third, broadly chronological chapter with the six-disc “Zombie" batch, comprising eleven LPs originally released between 1976--1980. The batch chronicles Kuti's music from shortly before the Nigerian army's destruction of his live/work commune, Kalakuta Republic, in 1977, through that outrage's aftermath, and up to the cusp of the dissolution of Afrika 70 and the formation of its successor band, Egypt 80. It was ...

AFROBEAT DIARIES

Part 10 - Knitting Factory hits Fela Kuti purple patch

Read "Part 10 - Knitting Factory hits Fela Kuti purple patch" reviewed by Chris May

Knitting Factory's comprehensive, multi-format, Fela Kuti reissue program hits a new high with its second salvo, the “Na Poi" batch, released in May 2010. The seven discs span 1974-77, a remarkably prolific and creative time even by the Afrobeat originator's own standards. As with the first “Chop 'n' Quench" batch--reviewed in Part 7 and Part 8 of the Afrobeat Diaries--each disc in the latest batch pairs two of Kuti's original vinyl LPs. First up, ...

AFROBEAT DIARIES

Part 9 - Fela Kuti Live In Berlin 1978

Read "Part 9 - Fela Kuti Live In Berlin 1978" reviewed by Chris May

Fela KutiAnthology 2Wrasse Records2010 (1975-80) This terrific three-disc compilation on the British label Wrasse offers a gold standard selection of Fela Kuti's recordings from the latter half of the 1970s. The 11 tracks featured on the two audio discs include eight landmark album tracks, and a 90-minute DVD contains four more pieces performed at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival. The video footage has not previously been released in its entirety.

AFROBEAT DIARIES

Part 8 - Knitting Factory rolls out Fela Kuti reissue program (continued)

Read "Part 8 - Knitting Factory rolls out Fela Kuti reissue program (continued)" reviewed by Chris May

Part 7 of The Afrobeat Diaries reviewed the first three discs in Knitting Factory's launch batch of Fela Kuti reissues, the six-disc “Chop 'N' Quench" batch. The first three discs span the years 1964-72, and follow Kuti's music as it evolved from the highlife-jazz hybrid of the mid 1960s to the almost fully formed Afrobeat of the early 1970s. Part 8 reviews the three discs comprising the second half of the “Chop 'N' Quench" batch, taking the ...

AFROBEAT DIARIES

Part 7 - Knitting Factory rolls out Fela Kuti reissue program

Read "Part 7 - Knitting Factory rolls out Fela Kuti reissue program" reviewed by Chris May

Following the release of its The Best Of The Black President sampler in November 2009, New York's Knitting Factory has cut to the main event in its Fela Kuti reissue program. The label, which is scheduled to release all of Kuti's albums during 2010, put out the first batch of six discs in February. Titled the “Chop 'n' Quench" batch (after the title of an early single), the discs cover the years 1964-74, Afrobeat's formative years. They contain nine albums ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Fela Kuti: The Best Of The Black President

Read "The Best Of The Black President" reviewed by Chris May

Twelve years after his death, activity around the legacy of Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti is growing exponentially and the US, finally, is getting in on the act. Choreographer Bill T. Jones' musical, Fela, is to open on Broadway on November 23, 2009, and meanwhile New York's Knitting Factory label has begun a reissue program which will, between fall 2009 and the close of 2010, see 45 Kuti titles released.

Jones is a leading light of American modern dance, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Fela Ransome-Kuti and Africa 70: Fela With Ginger Baker Live!

Read "Fela With Ginger Baker Live!" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Nigerian Afrobeat star Fela Kuti brought a refreshing attitude to his music. On one hand, he was deeply distrustful of authority in all its forms. On the other, he understood that the members of his groups would have to work together to function as a unit. What emerged from that mindset was a unique approach to group dynamics. While the members of his bands knew they would have to play with precision, they could also play with grace. In this ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Fela Anikulapo Kuti: Music Is the Weapon of the Future

Read "Music Is the Weapon of the Future" reviewed by AAJ Staff

For jazz listeners interested in a portal to African music, there are two obvious routes. One is the spirited South African lyricism of Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela. The other is the self-described Afro-beat of Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti. Fela made an enormous number of recordings, and it's very hard to find one which lacks his characteristic inspiration and energy. Fela's music draws upon the rhythmic dynamism of West Africa, the testimonial spirit of East Africa, and New World traditions ...


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