Study of the Music and Social Criticism of African Musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

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This work is an analysis of the music and politics of Fela Anikulapo-kuti. It traces Fela’s development through several stages of political consciousness, awareness and artistic maturity. His evolution from Fela Ransome-Kuti to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and from Koola Lobito’s to Nigeria 70 to Africa 70 and ultimately Egypt 80.
He had spent a life producing music that spoke to the existence of the masses in Africa. He had also spent a tremendous amount of time in court, in prison, in jail and receiving beatings from the army and police. Through it all, he remained true to his vision and his music.


“…. Fela was a disturbingly brilliant artist because he was able to establish an entirely new genre of resistance. He despised political corruption, imitativeness, and the persecution of the masses. Self-identifying as an artist of the people, he managed to upset the ruling cliques of his own society and to cast a spell of reform on the elites of other societies…..Coker, an astute observer and the first person in the world to receive a doctorate in African American Studies, has understood the Yoruba background of Fela’s music. However, he has done more than understand the fact that he came from a politically powerful Abeokuta family; Coker has shown that music was international. Fela’s reach was from Lagos to Los Angeles, from Kano to Kingston, from Onitsha to Okinawa…..Dr. Coker has captured the events, styles, and lyrics that brought him into confrontation with the Nigerian government while showing that most of his critics concentrated on his social life. They understood his music, but it was the fact that he was married to 27 women that often brought headlines…..I can only hope that the reader will gain as much as I have gained from reading this book about the provocative, vibrant, and exciting genius whose life will be studied for generations to come.” – Molefi Kete Asante, PhD, Temple University

“A compelling narrative of the life, music, and politics of one of Africa’s most talented, controversial, and outspoken musicians. Captivating in its prose, insightful in its revelations, A Study of the Music and Social Criticism of African Musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti makes a cogent statement on the significance of Fela on the local and global planes. It belongs on the shelf with the African diasporic persepectives if Carlos Moore and Michael Veal. Highly recommended.” – Niyi Afolabi, Tulane University

“Niyi Coker’s work provides insightful analysis into the life’s work of one of Africa’s most brilliant musicians. Coker skillfully blends a discussion of Nigerian politics of the last 30-plus years with an Afrocentric evaluation of Fela Kuti’s musical contributions. This work will clearly be of significance to anyone wishing to understand the importance of art in African culture and its implications for societal critique.” Cynthia L. Lehman, PhD., University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword; Preface; Introduction
1. Fela Ransome-Kuti
2. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Afrospot Years 1970-75
3. Kalakuta Republic
4. Movement of the People (M.O.P.)
5. Discography
References; Index

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