Fela Kuti – Zombie

If you thought this was going to be about Obama, guess again. I’m talking about Fela Kuti (1938-1997), the Nigerian musician slash activist, going by his well deserved nickname ‘The Black President‘, amongst other nicknames like ‘Baba 70‘ and ‘Abami Eda‘. No sweat if you’ve never heard of him, or any of his aliases for that matter, because even though he single handedly shook up Nigerian politics like a boss, he pretty much remained under the global attention radar. Thus not being credited for the great level heroism in his music and actions – which made him spend most of the 1980s in prison. He pulled off some pretty heavy stuff back in the day, stuff I can’t really write about in this little article without doing weeks of research first. But let me  forward you this link to a docu about the man, which I strongly recommend. Together with Manu Dibango (Cameroon), Fela started mixing up Afro-American soul, funk and jazz with traditional West-African rhythms, creating an entire new unmatchable and distinct sound which evolved into a new genre which we know as Afrobeat. His songs / government rants carry a great level of musicianship, being strong in both text and melody; which -let’s face it- is pretty hard to find in music. One of my personal favorite tracks is Zombie, a very powerful protest song filled with loads of various percussion, oh so lovely horns, organs and of course Fela’s strong vocal backed up by his ladysingers. The track is about the importance of not being a zombie in today’s society. You’ll have to pay attention to understand what he is saying since he’s singing in pidgin English (spoken by the Nigerian poor) which makes him incomprehensible from time to time. But so is James Brown; so who cares, right?

Bonus: Baba 70 was married to 28 women, only to divorce from all of them a couple of years later. Simply because: “No man has the right to own a vagina“. What a legend.

Download: Fela Kuti – Zombie (128 kbps)


2 thoughts on “Fela Kuti – Zombie”

  1. Ur wrong bruv. Read a Fela Kuti biography if you please and you’ll most likely find a chapter dedicated to the riots this track has caused.

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