fela kuti
fela kuti, living legend (1938 – 1997)

Fela Kuti,

fela kuti fela
fela anikulapo kuti

as popularly referred to by practically everyone, was born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, on the 15th of October, 1938 into an upper-middle-class family, to Chief Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, his mother; and Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, his Father – an Anglican man and school principal.

Fela Kuti was born and raised in Abeokuta, Ogun state. it is fondly said that a man’s destiny is written the day he is born. Is it safe to say that the origin of the Kalakuta started back in Abeokuta?

Fela Kuti wasn’t the only popular Kuti. In fact, practically everyone from his lineage is popular, or someone who is worthy of note. Fela’s siblings, Beko Ransome Kuti and Olikoye Ransome Kuti, are both well known medical doctors in Nigeria.

Fela Kuti and Wole Soyinka are also first cousins. But, I’m sure you already knew that.

fela feat.
fela anikulapo kuti

So, what don’t you know about Fela Kuti. The (late) legend whose name is still very much as active today as it was when he was alive 21 years ago.

Fela Kuti went to London to study music at the Trinity College of Music. ever wondered why it always seems like Fela knew what he was doing on stage, or in the recording studio? Well, that’s your answer.

fela kuti
fela kuti gracing his audience with beautiful afrobeat music

Fela Kuti moved back to Nigeria in 1963 where he trained as a radio producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. I guess its true that big finishes always have humble beginnings.

Fela Kuti had a band, called the Koola Lobitos (i actually like this name) and in 1967 while he was in Ghana, Fela Kuti discovered Afrobeat, the genre of music that is making Africa proud today.

Fela Kuti, was very active with his music between the period 1969 – 1989. Very active!

He released over 20 albums during this period. Approximately 1 album a year. And definitely, tons of songs. The Fela Kuti songs library will be populated with over 100s of records. It would definitely be a place to visit and get lost in.

fela saxophone.
fela kuti performing on stage with a saxophone

In no particular order, some of the albums are;

  • Zombie 1976
  • Expensive Shit 1975
  • Live! 1971
  • Rodrigo Fight 1972
  • Gentleman 1973
  • Shuffering and Schmiling 1978
  • No agreement 1977
  • Unknown Soldier 1981
  • Afrodisiac 1973
  • Open and Close 1971
  • Sorrow, Tears and Blood 1977
  • Music of Many Colors 1980
  • Why Black Man Dey Suffer 1971
  • Up Side Down 1976
  • Ikoyi Blindness/Kalakuta Show 1976
  • Confusion 1975
  • Stalemate 1977
  • Na You 1971
  • No Bread 1976
  • Fela Fela Fela 1969
  • The Beast of No Nation 1989
  • Coffin for Head of State 1981
  • The 69′ Los Angeles 1969 (the very first album).

A lot of things go into music production. time, energy, resources, rehearsals and many more, and Fela Kuti had all that.

Fela Kuti didn’t make music like every other artiste, his music always had a message. Fela was very vocal about his displeasure with the Nigerian government and particularly about how the white man had brainwashed the African people into believing they were nothing more than slaves, and Fela really fought against that.

I guess we can say that it formed the major reason as to why he preferred to be referred to as just Fela Kuti instead of his birth name that included ‘Ransome’ in it.

Fela Kui, ABAMI EDA, lives on today. Not physically, but his presence and the mark and legacy he left behind through his music is still very much praised and relevant to the Nigeria of Today. Fela the visionary. The man who cannot be tamed.

fela on stage
fela on stage during one of his most famous performances and ofcourse with the legendary pose.

There’s always more to find out. Read more about the Legend Fela.

Thank you for reading all through and staying with us so far. If you like this article, please share it with your friends. Are you a Fela Kuti fan, how much do you know about him. Did his life, or story impact you in any way? Do you know more about Fela Kuti that you wouldn’t mind sharing with us? We would love to know your opinions. Please tell us what you think in the comments below.

fela smile

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