21 years after his death, reminiscing on Fela's most controversial songs

21 years after his death, reminiscing on Fela's most controversial songs

It has been 21 years since Fela Anikulapo Kuti a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, originator of the Afrobeat music genre and human rights activist died. To celebrate him, NAIJ.com has curated a list of his songs that are still relevant today.

Fela did not just write songs for fun, each song tackled one issue or the other and since he felt several Nigerian governments were not doing what they were supposed to, most of his songs were aimed at the country’s leaders.

Abami Eda never held back in his songs, he regularly mentioned the names of those he felt were responsible for the rot in the country. In this vein, below are six of those songs.

1. Zombie

21 years after his death, reminiscing on Fela's most controversial songs

Album art for Fela's Zombi (Image courtesy Bandcamp)

Many have called it the ultimate anti-government/military song. It was a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military Genius reports. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government of the day.

2. Sorrow, Tears and Blood

21 years after his death, reminiscing on Fela's most controversial songs

Album cover of Fela's Sorrow, Tears and Blood (Image courtesy Mixcloud)

This song describes the chaos which ensued during the raid of his home by army officers and nearby surroundings which left many in sorrow, tears, bloodshed and death.

3. Coffin for Head of State

21 years after his death, reminiscing on Fela's most controversial songs

Album art for Fela's Coffin for Head of State (Image courtesy Bandcamp)

Written after the death of his mother at the hands of Nigerian military soldiers after she fell from an upstairs window during a military raid of his Kalakuta Republic, this song is about the hypocrisy of many Christians and Muslims, especially those in government and other positions of power.

4. Beast of No Nation

21 years after his death, reminiscing on Fela's most controversial songs

Album art for Fela's Best of no Nation (Image courtesy Bandcamp)

Beast of No Nation is the first song Fela wrote in 1986 after he was released from prison where he served two years out of a five year prison sentence. He was sentenced to prison for trumped-up foreign currency violation charges.

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5. Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense

21 years after his death, reminiscing on Fela's most controversial songs

Album art of Fela's Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense (Image courtesy Bandcamp)

A song about democracy in the country and how the colonial masters forced that system of government on Nigerians. It also discusses how foreign powers turn a blind eye when that same system is misused by the corrupt government.

6. Shuffering and shmiling (part 2)

21 years after his death, reminiscing on Fela's most controversial songs

Cover art for Fela's Shuffering and shmiling (part 2) (Image courtesy Bandcamp)

This song is about the plight of Africans at the hands of so called oppressors and missionaries coming into Africa to colonise and destroy. Fela sang that Africans must follow themselves and not kneel to any foreign leader.

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