SOME stakeholders in the music
industry have continued to
hailed the Afro-beat legend, Fela
Anikulapo-Kuti music, saying his
songs are still relevant in correcting
societal ills 20 years after his death.
The stakeholders, who spoke
with the News Agency of Nigeria
(NAN) in separate interviews
in Lagos on Wednesday in
remembrance of the 20 years
anniversary of Fela’s death, agreed
that he left a legacy in the music
industry.
Tope Babayemi, a musical
producer said that the Fela, when
alive impacted the African continent
and the world at large, especially in
drawing the attention of leaders to
the ills of the society.
Babayemi also the Founder,
Different Aesthetics, Arts and
Culture Management, Lagos, said
Fela’s messages and style of singing
distinguished him and placed him
in legendary status.
“The great Fela can never be
forgotten because till date his songs
are relevant in correcting societal
ills.
“Everyone that heard him sing
can testify that he lived for justice.
“During his reign as afro king,
the government officials in power
were conscious of every step they
took and that made the polity a bit
sane,” he said.
Babayemi said that even though it
had been two decades since he died,
his messages through his songs
would forever live on in the minds
of the people.
“It is important for musicians to
emulate Fela and use their music to
transform society and uphold the
norms and values Fela lived and
died for.
“Even in his grave his words still
echo out to the thousands of fans
who are still listening to his music
in Nigeria and in the Diaspora,” he
said.
Eugene Moses, a budding
musician said that Fela’s work
inspired him to take to the profession
as a musician order to educate the
masses through songs.
Moses said that music could be
used as an instrument of learning to
educate the masses on their cultural
heritages thereby preserving culture.
The musician referred to Fela as a
prophet whose messages through his
songs were still evident in the society
even after 20 years of his death.
Fela died of complications related
HIV and AIDS on Aug. 2, 1997 and
his elder brother, Prof. Olikoye
Ransome-Kuti, a former Minister of
Health, announced his death.
He was a Nigerian multiinstrumentalist,
composer, pioneer
of the Afro-beat music genre, human
rights activist, Pan-Africanist,
polygamist, mystic, legend and
political maverick.
He was born on Oct. 13, 1938, in
Abeokuta into an upper-middle class
family.
His mother, Funmilayo Ransome-
Kuti, was a woman activist and his
father, the Rev. Isreal Oludotun
Ransome-Kuti, was an Anglican
minister and school principal.
Fela was a cousin of Nobel
laureate Wole Soyinka.
He attended Abeokuta Grammar
School and later went to London in
1958 to study medicine but instead
studied music at Trinity College of
Music.
Fela played musical instruments
such as saxophone, keyboard,
trumpet, guitar and drum.
He married his first wife,
Remilekun Taylor in 1960 and in
1963, he moved back to Nigeria, reformed
Koola Lobitos and trained
as a radio producer for the Nigerian
Broadcasting Corporation.
As result of his social activism, he
ran into trouble on many occasions
with the military regimes in Nigeria
in the 1970s and 1980s and was
jailed. (NAN)


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