Wednesday 21st October / posted by Osric Powell
To experience the continent of Africa from a musical perspective is to open yourself up to the widest range of music one can imagine, so trying to fit it into a 1 hour Afrobeat Special was always going to be an impossible task!
I chose to use last week’s edition of Black & Blue to honour African music and the Afrobeat genre. The timing of the show coincided with what would have been the 77th birthday of Fela Kuti. Fela was pioneer of Afrobeat which blends elements of Ghanaina highlife music with a variety of other elements including funk, jazz, percussion and often highly charged political vocals.
The idea of the show was to play some early African music, Afrobeat and contemporary African music. My hope was to give some sense of the wide ranging styles emerging from the numerous established and up and coming African artists whilst also sprinkling in some of Fela’s music
Fela started exploring his musical interests after arriving in London in 1969 where he had travelled to stufy medicine. It was here he met Ginger Baker (of the rock group CREAM) who became a close friend and featured on Fela’s 1971 Live! album. By the time Fela had gone on to travel to LA and then back to Nigeria the identity of Afrobeat was virtually complete. Fela went on to have a very productive career releasing over 20 albums although his political views which were aired through his music often ran contrary to what the government of the day had in mind. Consequently he was often subjected to their retaliations but the resonance and meaning of his music stayed strong and remains so to this very day.
I’ve made a special Felabration playlist which includes more of Fela’s music and some songs that couldn’t be featured on the show due to their length. I hope you enjoy listening to the Afrobeat Special show and the playlist and that your appreciation of Fela and African music in general will continue to grow.
Until next time.
All live musical performances are included in our podcasts with the express permission of artists, who reserve all other rights in their music. All music used in our podcasts is licensed under an APRA Community Broadcasting license agreement.
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