Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fela Marathon

My new blogging colleague Fil over at Star Maker Machine took on a Fela Kuti track a few days ago as part of this weeks Ghosts and Zombies Halloween theme. The song in question - the well-known Zombie of course - is a real scorcher. As he writes: "Just about any '70s Fela will do, but if you can only have one of his songs, Zombie is the one to get".

I fully agree, but it got me to thinking about other Fela tracks I cherish. And as the Nigerian legend´s afrobeat is highly addictive, I found myself hosting a total Fela marathon last night. Good fun. And at last, I settled for the following three songs. First up is the ultra-funky Eko Ile from ´73: no wonder they sometimes call Fela the African James Brown. Next comes the jazzy No Agreement (´77), featuring Art Ensemble of Chicago trumpeter Lester Bowie in fine form. And last but not least there´s the hypnotic Expensive Shit (´75).

The anecdote about the latter is too good not to relate briefly here: Nigerian cops once planted a joint on Fela, who immediately swallowed it to destroy the evidence. He was then kept in jail until he could pass the drugs from his system. Miraculously, nothing turned up when his fecal sample was sent in for analysis, as he got help from his fellow inmates. Looking at the costs of this farce, Kuti coined the phrase expensive shit. True story.

Fela Kuti - Eko Ile MP3
Fela Kuti - No Agreement MP3
Fela Kuti - Expensive Shit MP3

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