Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is the most influential figure in African music, and there’s no question about that.
There’s no way you can talk about the history of African music and exclude Fela. There’s no way you can talk about activism in Nigeria and exclude the legend. Fela is where music and activism intersect. For that, he’s going to be remembered for life.
But how about the music? Will the music really live on? Will the music still be around to make any impact, ten years from now? Is it still making an impact right now? Hmm, your guess is as good as mine.
I’m afraid to be the carrier of bad news but what it looks like is, the musical legacy of Abami Eda is dying, and it’s clear for all to see.
First of all, do you know any artist on the mainstream that’s doing pure afrobeat as Baba Fela did? Anyone? Of course. Even his children who are the last of the Mohicans, doing the real thing, no one is paying attention to their craft. That tells us something, but let’s go further.
Since the inception of a new genre called Afrobeats, people have raised concerns over how that term is a bastardization of what Fela stood for.
But it didn’t just become Afrobeats, no. It’s starting to become a foreign genre. Damn, even the UK has an Afrobeats chart right now? Fela would be turning in his grave right now.
The last of the problem, perhaps the biggest of them, is that people of this generation can’t enjoy Fela‘s music.
We live in a fast world of 2-minute hit songs. Nobody wants to listen to “Why Black Men Dey Suffer” for 20 minutes anymore.
That, if you ask me, is a problem and it doesn’t look like it’ll get better soon, or ever. Fela‘s musical legacy is dying and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Sad, but it’s the truth.
Do You Still Play Fela’s Music?
Let’s hear from you.
Drop a comment.