SummaryWhat more could there possibly be to say about Fela Kuti? For many of us, Kuti's music has been the primary entry point to the incredibly fertile terrain of hybrid African music. But aside from the obvious honor of having the privilege of releasing some of the first unheard Fela recordings in over twenty years, the fact that these recordings even exist in the first place is something of a marvel.
In 1984, Fela Kuti had planned to leave Nigeria to tour abroad, but was arrested and imprisoned on dubious charges of "currency trafficking," preventing him from leaving the country. It took two years, and efforts from Amnesty International before Fela once again was able to share his music with the world. The music featured on this album was recorded the year of his release, live at the Fox Theater in Detroit.
The songs featured here, the shortest clocking in at 29 minutes and 35 seconds, aren't among Fela's best known compositions, though they did feature on studio albums with the Egypt 80 band. It's in these unbridled live performances though that the material truly comes alive, complete with audience interaction, the incredible musicianship of the band, and Kuti's inimitable vocal stylings. It's evident that the audience as completely entranced.
Fela Kuti - Live In Detroit is a document of one of the greatest performers of the 20th Century, and we're honored to be able to share it with you. The album will be released on Strut on May 8th on Strut Records internationally, and via our friends at Knitting Factory in the US. The Strut release will be a double CD / four vinyl / digital format.