By Oyaniyi Samson
“Music is supposed to have an effect. If you’re playing music and people don’t feel something, you’re not doing shit. That’s what African music is about…”
The verity of this statement, made by the Musical Taliban, ‘Fela Anikulapo Kuti’, was proven by the man himself and by other great artistes from the black savanna jungles of Africa.
Ere I jump into my expository, may I ask if your ears have at one time or another jammed any of Fela’s tracks. No? May I kindly request you drop this article and find one of these TRACKS? I’ll wait for you… see? I did. Let me guess, an ‘eargasmic’ and scintillating experience. What you just experienced is a fusion of several types of music styles to form what Fela pioneered and tagged “Afrobeat”, one of his legacies to Nigerians and the world.
Fela’s music wasn’t the only legacy he left Nigerians/Africans. Listening to tracks such as zombie, ITT and others creates a moment of déjà vu for listeners as the dystopic state most African countries find themselves today was accurately prophesied by the Nigerian Mahatma Gandhi.
Of course, Fela kicked the bucket about two decades ago however, he didn’t break the bucket, matter of fact he left the bucket intact for future generations of artistes to utilize. Falz, Burnaboy, Lagbaja, Femi and Seun Kuti and many sound chefs have all dipped into this bucket full of ingredients to whip up sounds that are not only stunningly delicious but keeps us always yearning for more like Oliver Twist. Moral Instruction, Falz’s fourth studio album, a radioactive fusion of some of Fela’s old songs, Falz’s unique rap style and other tidbit elements, produced an explosion on a massive scale that saw him bagging three major Awards at the 2019 edition of the Headies Awards.
“Music is supposed to have an effect…” Fela kept whipping up delicacies after delicacies (what a great chef) of music creating one of the greatest rippling effects in the history of musicians in Africa. Of course, these delicacies had effects that were most felt in Nigeria back then, stomach disorder for the Authorities (they probably can’t recognize good food if it hits them in the mouth) and electrifying to his fans and listeners even decades after his demise.
The bucket of ingredients is fast depleting? Codswallop. Future generations will probably resort to farming and hunting to gather their own ingredients. However, Fela’s bucket of ingredients is bottomless, (I checked) so be rest assured, we’ll at least leave the dregs of the bucket to generations coming. But I’m certain the man who showed the world that the ‘savages’ in the black African jungles brew premium quality sounds whilst clashing their spears on their shields will find a way to reach out from the grave to future generations at their time of greatest need. How? He carries death in his pouch (Anikulapo).