Fela Kuti - WXPN
Where they’re from: Abeokuta, Nigeria
Who they are: Born in English-occupied Nigeria to influential anti-colonialist parents, Fela Kuti started a band and movement to express socio-political unrest in Africa. His specific blend of jazz and funk became known as “Afrobeat,” and often featured grand, long-form arrangements too lengthy for radio. Due to the sensitive political nature of his music, Kuti was often targeted by corrupt and militarized government authority, but continued to release his most powerful music even after violent threats on his life, and the lives of his family, became real. Although he died in 1997 at age 58, Kuti created a legacy of over 50 LPs that charismatically represent freedom in Africa for generations.
Years active: 1958 – 1997
Essential albums: Expensive Shit (1975), Zombie (1977), The ‘69 Los Angeles Sessions (1994)