Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (born 1938 in Abeokuta, Nigeria) began his career playing jazz and highlife. He formed his first band in London in 1959 while studying at Trinity College of Music. In the early 1970s, Fela created Afrobeat, which rapidly became the most avidly followed style across West Africa. Afrobeat’s revolutionary politics brought Fela into violent conflict with successive Nigerian military regimes, which made many attempts to suppress him and once sent in the army to burn down his communal home, Kalakuta Republic. Fela refused to be silenced. He rebuilt Kalakuta and at his Lagos club, the Afrika Shrine, continued to make fierce, and always supremely danceable, music until a few weeks before his passing in 1997. Fela’s legacy lives on through his family. His son Femi leads The Positive Force and another son, Seun, leads Egypt 80. His daughter Yeni was the prime mover behind the building of the Kalakuta Museum and the New Afrika Shrine.
Since 2008, the Kuti family has partnered with Knitting Factory Entertainment and Partisan Records to revive and reissue Fela's entire catalog, further broadening the global reach and accessibility of his music and message.
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