Fela & Africa 70


Fela Kuti ( 15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick.This is the re-release of the old Barclay album by the same name from the 1970s, now taking advantage of better mastering techniques. The album is split into two discs, stylistically the “Jazz Side” and the “Dance Side.” Admittedly, this is a rather difficult task to undertake, dividing the songs into their components. Fela had a huge amount of jazz influence embedded in his music, including the songs made primarily for dancing. And even the more free jazz-oriented numbers were created in part to make people dance. As such, separating the two is an endeavor doomed in part. Despite this difficulty, the split is made decently well, with the more outstandingly leaning numbers on either side being displayed for the listener. The jazz side includes “JJD,” “Roforofo Fight,” “Sorrow Tears and Blood,” “Water No Get Enemy,” and “Just Like That.” The dance side includes a small piece of the incomparable “Kalakuta Show,” “Perambulator,” “Pansa Pansa,” and “Eko Ile.” Each piece is a masterwork in and of itself. As such, the highlights have a hard time standing out from the filler, with all pieces being a highlight of some sense. “Perambulator” shows off some incredible instrumental work from Africa 70, and “Just Like That” on the jazz side showcases a nice bit of call and response. For a basic introduction to Fela’s sound, this doesn’t make a bad album to pick up. The Best Best of Fela Kuti is comparable in this respect. For the collector, the original albums (now remastered) would perhaps be more comprehensive certainly, but this still makes a good addition to the collection for its attempt at showing a couple of aspects separately. Either way, pick it up for at least one listen.