Sorrow Tears and Blood (1977) / Opposite People (1977)
Sorrow Tears and Blood (1977) / Opposite People (1977)

Sorrow Tears and Blood (1977) / Opposite People (1977)


Fela Kuti & Africa 70


Knitting Factory Records

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  • CD
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Sorrow Tears and Blood
Often assumed to be inspired by the February 1977 army attack on Kalakuta Republic, according to sleeve designer Ghariokwu Lemi, “Sorrow Tears And Blood” was written in response to the South African regime’s crushing of the Soweto uprising in June 1976, which Lemi and Fela had watched unfold on television. The album was among the first of those Fela released following the destruction of Kalakuta Republic. An early sleeve design used a photograph showing Fela onstage in the aftermath of the outrage, his left leg still in plaster. He dedicated the album “to the memory of those who were beaten, raped, tortured or injured” during the Kalakuta attack. The police and army invariably leave behind them “sorrow, tears and blood,” Fela sings, and the backing vocalists respond, “dem regular trademark.” Decca refused to release the album, fearing government reprisals. Fela responded by setting up Kalakuta Records and making the disc the label’s debut release. Originally released by Kalakuta.

Opposite People
The seemingly everyday lyric of Opposite People’s title track, which deals with spoilsports, was likely meant by Fela as a metaphor for more profound social division and the contrariness of Nigeria’s ruling elite. The lyric of another song, “Equalisation Of Trouser And Pant,” is clearly metaphorical. Beneath our clothes, says Fela, we all have underwear, whether we are rich or poor; we are all fundamentally the same, and we are all equal. Originally released by Decca Afrodisia.

Sorrow Tears And Blood (Extended Version)
Fela Kuti & Africa 70