The 10th London African Music Festival began on Friday 14th September and if you haven't yet had a chance to check out any of the performances, you still have time. The following shows are taking place between now and the festival close on Saturday 29th September:
I discovered LYSERGIC FUNK a few weeks ago when working on the Felaxtravaganza to celebrate Fela Kuti's birthday and through that blog I discovered MJFela.com: "The King meets the President in Africa". A collection of mashed-up Michael Jackson and Fela Kuti tracks that are oh so danceable, from two legends whose beats have moved people the world over.
"Fela Ransome Kuti and Michael Joseph Jackson mash in thematic, musical and spiritual unity in ten vibrant instances, with results that deliver pure mind/body juju. … Michael is, well, Michael. And as anyone who’s ever mixed or danced to a Fela record can attest, his songs are highly organic, ever evolving, ever changing records, the complete antitheses of modern beat-machine music—not exactly prime candidates for blending. Yet, blend they do. The outcome? Mental and dance-floor dynamite!"
Following yesterday's theme* of activism through the arts, today we're celebrating the phenomenal Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti. Fela would have been 72 today and though he is no longer with us in body, his legacy is firmly with us forever. Musician, activist, rebel – the man has inspired music genres (Afrobeat), politics (through his music, through his persistent attacks on the shortcomings of the Nigerian government and through his own political party, Movement of the People) and a wealth of artistic expression in a multitude of media. Today, we celebrate Fela Anikulapo (the man who carries death in his pouch) Kuti through showcasing just a slice of his creative influence.
This week, Carlos Moore's book, Fela: This Bitch of a Life, is being reissued with cover art by Lemi Ghariokwu, Fela's faithful album artist.
"[A] political revolution [is] a change to the leadership of a society that does not impact the social structures, mores or power relations. A social revolution, on the other hand, is one where the political regime is not the focus of struggle because what is at stake is the very way of being, living and experiencing the world."
It seems that Fela was out to create a political revolution but, the wide reach of his music, its universal themes of social justice and the life of the man himself, may just have created a social one!
I leave you this Friday, with the video of one of my personal favourites, "Zombie":
[*And to be fair, the theme of this blog and my life!]