Today August 2, 2015 marks the 18th death anniversary of music legend and Afrobeat creator, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Born on October 15, 1938, Fela is recognised as one of the most successful musicians to have performed on stage. His genre of music which he titled Afrobeat was inspired by Jazz, funk and Nigeria’s highlife music.
Fela was born to an influential family known for their activism. His mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was an activist who fought for the rights of women and equality for all and she is reputed to have been the first Nigerian woman to drive a car.
His father, Reverend Dotun Ransome-Kuti was the pioneer president of the Nigerian Union of Teachers while his brothers Beko and Olikoye Ransome-Kuti were nationally acclaimed medical doctors with Beko also making a name as a radical activist who fought against military juntas with Fela. Africa’s 1st Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka is also Fela’s cousin.
Fela who was initially sent to London to study medicine opted for music instead at the Trinity College of Music.
Fela released over 20 albums most of whom were targeted at the ills in the society and the excesses of the successive military governments.
He was initially married to Remi Taylor whom he met in London and together they had Yeni, Femi and Sola. He later got married to 27 women in a day which was a never seen before event. The brides were made up of dancers, back up singers and other girls who had made his house their home.
Fela died on August 2, 1997 from complications arising from AIDS.
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