About Fela Kuti
It's almost impossible to overstate the impact and importance of Fela Anikulapo (Ransome) Kuti -- or just Fela, as he's more commonly known -- to the global musical village. Kuti combined the raw guitars and jazzy undercurrents of traditional highlife with tight horn arrangements, electrifying polyrhythms, and politically charged lyrical content for the creation of Afrobeat. He had an unparalleled hot streak throughout the '70s with genre-defining Afrobeat albums like 1975's Expensive Shit and 1977's Zombie, and his music would have a global ripple effect long after his death in 1997. Countless musicians would eventually catch up to Kuti's vision as the ideas that he was working on found their way into new sounds from jazz players, American rock acts like the Talking Heads, and new waves of Afrobeat revivalists. While the infectiousness and excitement of Afrobeat grew and morphed with subsequent generations, it all began with Fela.
BORNOctober 15, 1938