Squinting? Click on this link to see it blown up
Here it is! The first of a series of posts that will include all 4 limited edition box sets that Barclay put out a few years back that has since been out of print, of hands down the greatest revolucionary musician to come out of Africa. If you didn’t act fast a few years back, you might have a hard time finding these now. Each volume has 6 remastered records, 6 color postcards of his ‘queens’ , and the first volume comes with a 10 page 12″ booklet which I have scanned and you can download it here. Most of these records have been re-issued, but it can still take some serious amount of time (and $) to track them down. I’m assuming most of you know Fela, but I’m still continually suprised at how many people have no idea who he was. If you don’t know, he was an Nigerian musician who played stretched out endless grooves that would last at times hours. He formed an autonomous commune that he named the Kalakuta Republic and declared it independant of the Nigerian government, which was a trigger happy puppet dictatorship put in power by all the multi-national oil companies, of which would hire local Nigerians to literally machine gun anyone down who was in opposition. Fela lived his life speaking out against all the attrocities that the Nigerian government committed, and set up a nightclub called Afro-spot and then The Shrine in which he performed on a regular basis. The Shrine also was a hub for the community and was a learning center on everything from the Yoruba religion to politics. He was considered public enemy # 1 by the Nigerian government, and they did everything in their power to stop him. They arrested him on any charge they could, invaded the Kalakuta Republic with 1000 soldiers burning it all down(including his recording studio and tons of master tapes), threw his mother out of a window causing fatal injuries, and beat him almost to death and imprisoned him countless times. Stirring up more controversy, he married 27 women at one time, who he called ‘Fela’s Queens’. Most of them sang and danced for him. The Fela vs. State conflict only worsened over time and, he eventually created his own political party called M.O.P. Movement of the People and ran for presidency unsuccessfully. Even with all of these struggles, he was incredibly prolific and has left behind a huge musical legacy. There is a great documentary called Music Is The Weapon, that has some incredible footage, and gives an in more depth view on his life. (that link is the full 52 minute documentary in quicktime format ready for your ipod/itunes)
These are the 6 albums that are included in the first box set. Open And Close, Gentleman, and the anthemic Upside Down featuring Sandra Akane Isidore (the woman who introduced Fela to The Black Panthers in ’69) are up. Now Yellow Fever, J.J.D., and I.T.T. are up. All the files have the full album artwork embedded, so when you add it to your itunes it will already show up. I do this for every record I post, and with this box set I’ve also embedded the full booklet at high resolution so you can blow it up and read it. There has been quite a few blogs that have posted other Fela records. So, until I get the rest uploaded, check them out. The one that seems to have the most Fela is Oufar Khan. He’s got Shakara, Confusion, Afro-Desiac, Music of Many Colors with Roy Ayers, No Agreement, Expensive Shit, He Miss Road, etc… Metrobase has the Ginger Baker record as well as the incredible Nigeria 70′ comp. I’m sure there is more, if anyone knows of any please post a link in the comments.