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Fela Kuti


Steve Temple
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I stayed up for two and half hours to hear a promised Fela Kuti performance on Radio 6 the other day, and was slightly disappointed, but I'm so enamoured with the phrase "hard-trance polyrhythms" that's been used to describe his music, I'm going to persist. So which of his many releases should I get? Preferably those available on vinyl.

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Guest Giles Walker
There's quite a lot of good fela & femi stuff out there!

That is not really much help now is it? Although i agree with your sentiment.

The obvious classics to go for in my opinion would be Shakra, Water Get No Enemy, Roforofo Flight and Expensive Shit. I play Roforofo Flight out quite a bit. There were some reissues on Celluloid in the early 80s that are still pretty easy to get get hold of, there is also a box set and a couple of videos.

The Femi Kuti album on Nuphonic was really good, although next to impossible to find on vinyl. The Kerry Chandler remix 12" that came out was absolutley top class as well, but again you will probably never see it. Nuphonic went out of business but started a new label recently, signing The New Young Pony Club's first single no less.

I would never use the phrase "hard-trance polyrhythms" to describe Fela's music although i can see what they were getting at. His songs tend to be 20 odd minute long percussion heavy epics that a pretentious music critic might describe as capable of putting you into a heavy trance. David Guetta this ain't.

Fela Kuti's drummer, Tony Allen, played in Aberdeen at the Lemon Tree, as did Osibisa. Both gigs were poorly attended.

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Guest Steven Dedalus

"Zombie" is a total classic as well.

To be honest, everything I've heard by him was just awe inspiring. It just kicked into a groove and never let up.

Also check out "Original Suffer Head".

I definately remember that one being great as well.

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To be honest, everything I've heard by him was just awe inspiring. It just kicked into a groove and never let up.

What disappointed me about the track that Radio 6 played (live from Glastonbury) was that it did let up. I expected a locked-in groove and improvisation on top of that, but the freeform jazz experimentation extended to the percussion too. But it was just one example of his vast output.

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That is not really much help now is it? Although i agree with your sentiment.

The obvious classics to go for in my opinion would be Shakra, Water Get No Enemy, Roforofo Flight and Expensive Shit. I play Roforofo Flight out quite a bit. There were some reissues on Celluloid in the early 80s that are still pretty easy to get get hold of, there is also a box set and a couple of videos.

The Femi Kuti album on Nuphonic was really good, although next to impossible to find on vinyl. The Kerry Chandler remix 12" that came out was absolutley top class as well, but again you will probably never see it. Nuphonic went out of business but started a new label recently, signing The New Young Pony Club's first single no less.

I would never use the phrase "hard-trance polyrhythms" to describe Fela's music although i can see what they were getting at. His songs tend to be 20 odd minute long percussion heavy epics that a pretentious music critic might describe as capable of putting you into a heavy trance. David Guetta this ain't.

Fela Kuti's drummer, Tony Allen, played in Aberdeen at the Lemon Tree, as did Osibisa. Both gigs were poorly attended.

Do you ever drop him in your DJ sets? I've been thinking about going to one of your nights for a while, and that would be a clincher. I imagine the capacity of his music to put you in a trance depends on what other stimulation you're combining it with. Thanks for the recommendations, I'll try to get Roforofo Flight and Expensive Shit, since the story behind the title of the latter is such a good one!

I see Tony Allen has a new compilation out called "Afro Disco Beat", which, again, is an irresistible description.

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