Fela Kuti’s Birthday, Or “A Flimsy Excuse To Write About Afrobeat”

dangibs | October 15, 2007 1:00 am

In a morning where I’ve posted about Razorlight and Celine Dion before noon Mountain Standard Time, it feels good to post about something slightly more awesome: Fela Kuti, who would have turned 69 today.

By now, the internet has made Fela and other stars of afrobeat more accessible to modern ears–and I certainly wasn’t there for the first five or six waves of “discovering his music”–but I have fond memories of deciding to try giving “Expensive Shit” a listen when the first batch of reissues were released and being blown away by the funk. While 20-minute African funk workouts about political issues, marijuana, and sex might not be for everyone–or the majority of the people I saw at church yesterday–I’m thankful for his massive body of work, and his equally massive way of life.

A great documentary of unknown origin is available in multiple parts on Youtube, at least for the moment: