24 in. x 18 in. acrylic on burlap
Fela Anikulapo Kuti, also professionally known as Fela Kuti, or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick.
Tired of studying European composers, Fela formed his first band, Koola Lobitos, in 1961, and quickly became a fixture on the London club scene. He returned to Nigeria in 1963 and started another version of Koola Lobitos that was more influenced by the James Brown-style singing of Geraldo Pina from Sierra Leone. Combining this with elements of traditional high life and jazz, Fela dubbed this intensely rhythmic hybrid "Afro-beat," partly as critique of African performers whom he felt had turned their backs on their African musical roots in order to emulate current American pop music trends.
Because his music addressed issues important to the Nigerian underclass (specifically a military government that profited from political exploitation and disenfranchisement), Fela was more than a simply a pop star; he was the voice of Nigeria's have-nots, a cultural rebel.