Friday, September 07, 2007

365. Fela Kuti And The Africa '70 - Zombie (1976)

Track Listing

1. Zombie
2. Mister Follow Follow


This is the second Fela Kuti album on the list and it is, if possible even better than the previous one. Well, it is basically composed of two songs, but that is no demerit. It is quite a short album, but so is the Ramones one. Of the two songs Zombie is by far superior and it is one of the most infectious tracks ever to have left the African continent. A great track with a message, this anti-militaristic anthem will really make you move... Bob Dylan it ain't.

It is a pity that I knew nothing of Fela Kuti before doing this project, now I am really glad I do know him. Kuti, has energy, humour and a brilliant musical mind. The two tracks, even if one is superior are as close to flawless as you can get. They are not just great fun, or great political tracks, they are also expertly played and composed.

And how rare is it to have an album that actually made a difference in people's lives? The popularity of this album in Nigeria led to a backlash against the military, leading the military to raze Kuti's compound and throw his mother out the window, which led to her death. This is how powerful the music is.

Track Highlights

1. Zombie
2. Mister Follow Follow

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

In 1977 Fela and the Afrika 70 released the hit album Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the "zombie" metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic, during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the main army barrack in Lagos and write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier," referencing the official inquiry which claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier.

A guy breakdancing to the instrumental bit of Zombie:

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