Zombie (Edit) out now

This August marks the 23rd anniversary of Fela’s passing. In remembrance of Fela’s life and legacy this month, we’re shining a spotlight on the ever-relevant “Zombie”, originally released in 1976.

Recently dubbed “essential” by the New York Times and named as a “Song Giving Us (Much Needed) Life” in NPR’s Code Switch podcast, Zombie was Fela's eviscerating attack on the violent abuse of power by the Nigerian army. In the lyrics, Fela ridicules the men in uniform. "Attention! Quick march! Slow march! Salute!" he sings, "Fall in! Fall out! Fall down! Go and kill!" Each phrase is followed by the women singers’ taunt, "Zombie!" Fela continues: “No brains, no job, no sense joro jara jo; tell am to go kill joro jara jo; tell am to go quench joro jara jo.”

Sadly, on February 18, 1977, the army would take their revenge: 1000 soldiers surrounded Kalakuta Republic, battered their way in and burnt it to the ground, beating any occupant they could catch, including Fela and his 77-year-old mother, who was thrown out of a second-floor window, an outrage which caused her death the following year.