Fela disbands the Highlife Rakers and forms Koola Lobitos, which has a line-up of West African and Caribbean musicians. JK Braimah is the guitarist. The band plays in clubs popular with London’s black community and at private functions.
It is sometimes claimed that Koola Lobitos play at the Cue Club in Paddington in west London and the Four Aces in Dalston in east London, but neither of these historic clubs exist during Fela’s (1958 – 1963) stay in London (the Cue opened in 1964 and the Aces in 1965). It is quite likely that the band play at the Mango Club in Brixton in south London, but this cannot be stated with certainty. Sadly, the history of black people in Britain is inadequately chronicled (but that is another story). The origin of Koola Lobitos’ name is still obscure. Koola is purely onomatopoeic while Lobitos means “little wolves” in Spanish. It may be that Fela is referencing the Spanish influence, via Cuba, on West African music. Fela’s cousin Wole Soyinka is also studying in Britain and the pair briefly share a flat. Soyinka writes lyrics for some of Fela’s tunes and Fela composes music for some of Soyinka’s experimental theatre productions.