Nigerian Icons- the story of Fela

5 Nigerian Musicians Who Have Been Influenced By Fela Kuti

From Football to the music industry, Nigeria has produced and is still producing great men and women in various aspect of life. In terms of music one name that many artist, till today look up to for inspiration, is nobody than Fela Anikulapo Kuti. In this post today, we will be covering the story of Fela best known for the nickname “The black president”. This story will cover full account of notable events in his life from birth to death. More so, many off and On-screen little-known facts about him.

His Early Life
Fela Anikulapo Kuti was born on the 15th day of October, 1938 In Abeokuta Nigeria. He was born to his mother, Funmilayo and father, Isreal Oludotun. Fela grew up in Anglican teachings in Abeokuta because his father was a minister in the Anglican church. Fela had a sister named Dolu and two brothers, Beko and Olikoye, both who later became successful doctors.
After rounding up with high school In Abeokuta, Fela got a temporary job as a junior clerk at the Federal Ministry of Commerce.

After some time working there, he was sent to London to study medicine but rather than studying medicine, Fela opted for Music and enrolled at Trinity College of music in London. Fela was so in love with music that he formed his first band “Kooola Lobitua” during his time in college.

He Changed his name
In the year 1963, Fela came back to Nigeria, took training has a radio producer and worked with famous trumpeter Victor Olaiya. In 1967, he took a trip to Ghana to help him think of a new musical idea and that was how he came up with the “Afrobeat” genre.

In 1978, he changed his name to Anikulakpo meaning “ He who carries death in is pouch and also dropped the last name Ransome, which he strongly believe was a name for slaves.

He Tried to Become the President
Fela Kuti was not impressed with the way the government handled the country and he used his music to express himself, thus making him in constant loggerhead with the government.

He created is own political party called “movement of the people” with the hope of being a president, but unfortunately is candidacy was rejected.

Fela was arrested 200 times!

The military government tried all means to pull him down: they arrested and jailed him for 20 months for smuggling currency alongside 3 of his bandmates. He was also arrested for abducting a young woman who lives in his neighborhood and was accused of murder after a death in his club.

All these allegations did not deter Fela as he continued to make music and perform in global concerts.

His Death

In the early 1900s, his health began to deteriorate as a result of excessive tobacco.

On August 2, 1997, he died of AIDs compilation but others believed it wasn’t AIDS but the beatings he received during his time in jail.

He Has a Whole Weekend Concert Dedicated To his name.
Fela is a legend in the African music industry and he has a whole weekend concert known as “ Felabration” celebrated every year to immortalize him.

Since his death, his sons (Femi and Seun Kuti) have carried the mantle and have been following their father’s path to liberate Nigeria from oppressive and bad government through music.


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