Remembering Fela

by Feferity

The Fela Kuti Prophecy Party took place at POP Brixton, London on Saturday 16th September 2017. The spectacular event saw a musical fusion of tributes to the Afrobeat pioneering prophet, bringing together a plethora of legendary and internationally acclaimed artists for an electric night of star-studded performances.  The night was buzzing and a testimony to how far-reaching the impact and influence of Fela’s music still is.

The London event, aimed at intensifying the ongoing campaign to raise $128,000 by the 15th October 2017, FELA Anikulapo Kuti’s 79th birthday. The funds will go to the preservation of Fela’s existing archival collection, making the public history of Pan-African thought and activism by the ultimate Nigerian icon. Fela’s archival collection includes Photographs of family members pre-dating his musical career, charting his musical career at home and abroad; a variety of musical ephemera including recordings and album art, personal correspondence; handwritten/typed lyrics and clothing and musical instruments. The Fela Anikulapo Kuti archive is currently held at the central repository, Kalakuta Museum, Lagos, Nigeria, formerly The Kalakuta Republic.

Funds raised will also contribute to the annual Lagos-based Fela themed celebration and festival FELABRATION 2017. FELABRATION was conceived by Yeni Anikulapo Kuti, Fela’s eldest child, as a way to celebrate the life of their father; and was established in 1998, the year after he joined the ancestors. FELABRATION has since, grown from a day of celebration and remembrance into a globally recognised week-long festival, and is considered one of the best in the world 2016/17 by Fest300. This year’s theme is The ‘Prophecy’ and ‘Pansa Pansa’ is the accompanying theme tune!

Guests at the Brixton gig included special guests Rikki Stein, Fela’s long-time friend and manager, Baba Adesose Wallace of Fela’s Egypt 80, Nik Turner (Hawkwind), James Lawrence’s Triple Jam Sandwich (Ronnie Scott’s House Band), Kevin Davys, Yolanda Eyama’s Afro World Groove, PlanetMan and acclaimed singer, songwriter and producer Aurora Dawn (Alabama 3/Screamin Skulls/RAW Power Promotions). DJs on the night included Chris and Cyndi Ellesse (Man Vs Wife, No Long Ting), Mark Roberston (Spiritual South) and Miki Rumplefunk kept the place jumping all night.

London’s No.1 Oluko, Mr Kolade Ogunbayode, who runs MYKCC Yoruba Language Club, a non-profit Pan-Afrikan educational service, also joined to spice up the night. Mr Kolade engaged and intrigued guests throughout the evening by bringing a taste of Yoruba culture and tradition to proceedings through a display of educational books and graphic novels, conversation and traditional games such as Ayo. Also in attendance Kuti family member, Mr. Segun Bucknor, a New Afrika Shrine veteran. Michaela Coel’s on screen Mum; actress Shola Adewusi of Channel 4’s hit show ‘Chewing Gum’ was also seen having a fabulous time amongst the partygoers.

Delicious delights and nourishment for the night were provided by Majestic Restaurant, the London eatery famed for the finest of African cuisine. This Crowd Fund campaign is a grassroots project headed by Kiera Adegbite (a long-time friend of the Kuti family and Project Historian/Co-coordinator) and Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski (Project Manager/Archivist) – both are members of the Felabration Organising Committee (F.O.C.) and Aurora Dawn.

Story by: Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski & Kiera Adegbite

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