Thursday, March 08, 2007

233. Fela Ransome-Kuti And The Africa '70 With Ginger Baker - Live! (1971)

Track Listing

1. Let's Start
2. Black Man's Cry
3. Ye Ye De Smell
4. Egbe Mi O (Carry Me I Want To Die)


This is a pretty fun album, Ginger Baker of Cream joins Nigerian Fela Kuti in four tracks of pretty superbly ryhthmical music. And it is really rhythm that this album is all about. There is definitely a big African element to this album, which is also one of the first albums of what would become Afrobeat. It is pretty infectious music, mixing elements of traditional African music, particualarly in some drumming that you could really see happening in the villages of Nigeria with jazzier and rockier elements.

This album is therefore something completely original, it seems to mix the Funk of James Brown with an even more primal element of rythm and fun. Fela Kuti's singing is infectious even if you can't understand what he is singing about, although he makes some introductions in English to each track.

Funk is great, and new destillations of it are always a good thing. The contribution of Ginger Baker is also pretty apparent, his drumming is great and you can tell he has done his homework in terms of African music, he really gets into it. It is actually a very different direction from Cream, but one which suits Baker really well. In the end the album will make your body move, and towards the end, when the people join Kuti in an harmonic sing-a-long this album really comes into its own. Buy it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Egbe Mi O (Carry Me I Want To Die)
2. Ye Ye De Smell

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The American Black Power movement influenced Fela's political views. He was also a supporter of Pan-Africanism and socialism (although in a 1982 documentary he can clearly be seen rejecting both capitalism and socialism in favour of a third way that he described as Africanism), and called for a united, democratic African republic. He was a fierce supporter of human rights, and many of his songs are direct attacks against dictatorships, specifically the militaristic governments of Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also a social commentator, and criticized his fellow Africans (especially the upper class) for betraying traditional African culture. The African culture he believed in also included having many wives (polygyny) and the Kalakuta Republic was formed in part as a polygamist colony. Though not part of African culture, it should be noted though that Fela was very open when it came to sex, as he portrayed in some of his songs, like "Open and Close." He also expressed views that could be considered sexist, such as describing women as mattresses.

Fela Kuti Documentary:

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