Uploaded by radioshrine on 14.01.2011

I would like to know your back-ground?
My School – Christian School, Christian parents, Christian disciplines, Christian morality, Christian everything.
But one thing about my background is that my parents still have that salient traditional out-look to life.
I watched my father preach in church maybe only once, and he had to do it because somebody didn’t show-up you know.
As a matter of fact, I don’t think he knew the damage religion could do to our people!
So I just say that my background is just that – I had to go to school,
colonial school - a very good colonial school!
Not a very bad colonial school as we have it now,
which I am…
a bit sorry for because going to a colonial school has wasted a lot of my life.
In view of the fact that colonialism, wouldn’t allow me to express myself as I wanted to
So I would say it made me waste a lot of my life.
Went to school, left school, did school certificate – pass grade 3, which was unnecessary after all.
When you work they pay you £12.10 - £2.10 extra.
Then I went to London, which I don’t want to mention
– but I want to mention it for you now because it is important for our people to know
that if I didn’t go to London, I won’t be able to really tell them that
one doesn’t have to go to London to be what he has to be.
I went to London its OK – fine but I am not playing London music now.
Everybody calls my music new music in Europe where I went to school.
Because I had to leave all their education behind, it is important for our people to understand that
I give that credit to my mother,
when I was playing jazz in this country and I was never making money.
I was always going to my mother to ask her: “Mami give me money”,
then she told me “Fela, don’t you think you have to play highlife…
because this jazz don’t give you money”
And I wouldn’t listen – you know!
And then she said “Fela, why don’t you incorporate this jazz into your highlife that you say you know?
That you are doing!
I thought about it, then I started what I called highlife jazz then – Koola Lobitos.
Then the next stage of this music…
was my visit to America – when I took Koola Lobitos music there in 1969.
When I got there I found-out
many things about the music industry,
found out many secrets about black people in the music industry.
I saw the secret about African people in the music industry.
I saw what you have to do before you can make it in the music industry.
Then I met a woman – Sandra,
thought me a lot about Blackism. Gave me a lot of books to read: Malcolm X,
then I saw
the intricacies and outlets and I saw secrets of why we Africans are so low…
Do you believe Africans are low?
Economically yes!
But not otherwise?
Not otherwise!…
Low financially – Bread-wise!
Food, hunger,…
my brother when you start getting very hungry for a long time, you start getting low mentally too.
And we don’t want that to happen that is why we are still on the struggle.
Then I was reading this book and I found-out in my analyses of myself,
I had to seat down and think about myself and I said what am I doing? Am I really playing African music?
Then I found-out the failure of Koola Lobitos in America in ’69 then I gave-up
and then I said I have to re-think re-analyze myself and started to write new music.
Then I started to see African music in its real context in ’69.
I came back to Nigeria in the ’70 I was not really – I was still trying to get it together.
Not yet with it!
At that time in the ‘70’s you see!
I shocked many people in Nigeria then I lost a lot of crowd, because…
they didn’t know what I was doing.
Then it started to formalize in my mind,
I got so many sounds going, then I released my first sound
into the market to see what people felt about what I have been doing!
Jeun Ko Ku Right?
Yes Jeun Ko Ku!
That was my arrival on the African scene and since then
it has been developing and improving since.
Strictly afrobeat!
Yeah! Strictly afrobeat! You see
I have stopped calling it afrobeat – it is now African music!
It is not afrobeat because in a night you hold a crowd
for so many hours because we play different rhythms of African context.
So could you say that without this musical talent of yours there would not have been
anybody called Fela! Mind, you are Fela right,
but it sought of made what you are today.
hat musical part of it, that musical talent that you’ve got, you owe your success to it!
Not only! I don’t owe my success only to my musical talent I owe my success to my new thoughts.
You see if I went to London to study and I came back and was working in NBC (Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation),
nobody would know what I was doing. I will still be a foolish man.
You see that is what I am saying, many Africans have a lot of knowledge,
many Africans have a lot of talents,
many doctors are in the profession because
their fathers want them to be doctors.
Many lawyers are there because their parents want them to be lawyers
they are not there because they want to do what they want to do.
So we don’t have the best from African people.
African people just wants certificate, they don’t want to really express themselves
in the thing they want to do and they need to do and I don’t blame them too
It is their environment, the government, what they present to them the education
African man has to put their hands behind their backs before he gets anything you know!
You see I understand all that, but we have to change the system to bring the African talents up.
You see ’am not,
what I am doing is not great!
But the people think what you are doing is great!
OK! Because of the environment, but I don’t think so.
I think people can do better if they are given the…
the right knowledge to see the new light.
Don’t you think it has attributed a bit to your success?
Yes! With what I have now learnt, what I have known
has now buttressed my ideas.
You see if I was just talking and I didn’t have my art to support it!
You mean above all you can paint, you are an artist?
No! I am in music – music is painting! You know?
In the mind?
High higher form of painting!
Abstract sort of!
Could you please explain what your music contains
people really want to know, when they listen to your music,
they hear your music, your music trips them it gives them the right feeling
but we don’t know what it really entails! Is it rap, jazz or apala – what is it?
I know you said it is African!
It is just African! Man, if you people know what I am feeling when I write my music then you will understand what I doing
when I listen to music on the radio at anytime
I listen to traditional music.
I don’t listen to rock I listen to jazz because jazz is African music.
The White Americans called it jazz at the beginning because they said jazz is nonsense.
Now they are saying jazz is American culture you see?
They have spoilt it before now it is good.
I listen to two kinds of music in my life
African traditional music and jazz.
Now it is from this traditional music that I get a lot of insight into the power of the African man’s mind
when art is concerned.
And it is not easy for me to say it now or prove it now but, I am going to prove it to this world man!
One day and they will see what I am talking about.
The success of these radio programs, bothering our people all the time with foreign music is killing our people.
Now look at the Shrine – see how full it is all these people who play these foreign music don't pull crowds like this,
because people want to hear the music of their country if it is good.
It is very important!
And it is not for entertainment it is for listening and thinking!
Mr Fela! Can you tell me your sources of inspiration?
Your main sources of inspiration!
Music-wise! Creativity-wise!
The suffering of our people!
You just watch people?
The environment! What you see!
The life of an artist – the work of an artist, his environment is his source of inspiration.
For instance, from an artist work one should be able to know around the year the work was produced.
Which country it was produced? What really was happening at the moment it was produced?
After so many hundreds of years
that is an artist!
So it is what is happening at the particular moment that should be the main thing – the source of inspiration.
Either in painting or in music or in dancing – anything!
You see my source of inspiration is what Africa is today mass sufferings every time I write my music is that!
Also it is believed that your son is very good at playing the saxophone
sort of stepped into his father’s shoes! Can you asses yourself with him when you were just starting to play the saxophone?
Ohh! I didn’t have the fullest encouragement he has!
You know all my kids I give them complete freedom. They call me by my first name,
they do everything they like
they sleep with women anytime they like, they tell me about their girlfriends and their boyfriends.
I mean its complete freedom you know so they develop on their own.
I think that is what life should be complete freedom for children.
Because you see: they say children shouldn’t do a bad thing, children should do a good thing,
experience is the best way to know what is good and what is bad!
You know I don’t want him to step into his father’s shoes. It is him that decides what exactly he wants to do!
Tomorrow he plays the sax I didn’t ask him to play the sax
it is him Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, a complete identity of himself.
He has to make his own personality, which I must never interfere with.
He can listen to me,
what I do he can like what I do can inspire him
it may be his source of out-look to life you know!
He is my son I see that – he see’s that but I don’t guide him as such.
He asks for advice for different things:
his women, his music, his eveything.
he is only pulling himself together as he is supposed to be as a human being!
All these shit of father’s shoes you see misleads our people
it does not allow the children to do what they want to do.
They allow the moralities of other nations to guide their children here.
They talk about conscience, when you talk about conscience.
Conscience is a national thing, it is not a spiritual thing!
Everyone talks about conscience as if it is a spiritual thing!
A German man will kill a Nigerian who wants him in war in the name of conscience fighting for Germans!
But the main thing is murder to kill another person is murder
it is against the laws of spiritualism.
That is the point but they kill and say conscience guides them – what about the killing?
So you see, people should be allowed to change their own way and develop their own way! Their own style their own
it gives coin to a nation. It gives fantastic flare!
Also Mr. Fela, can you asses how many records you’ve made up to date and which is your favourite number?
I can’t asses as a person every number I play is my favourite!
But you have "ONE" with asterisks’!
No! My people can bear me out. Sometimes I feel great about a number on night,
and then I am thinking of another number one night.
I don’t really have favourite because if I don’t like a number I don’t play it.
What food do you like best?
Food! What food do I like best?
If I am very hungry give me anything and I will eat it like a mad man!
Hunger guides my feelings. If I am hungry give me hot eba and I will destroy it!
Or you give me hot amala and ewedu when I am hungry – but when I am not hungry.
What I dislike most is moinmoin – they make these London (elemi meje moinmoin) I hate it
I can’t stand it. I like moinmoin that they make with leave.
What occasion would you consider the happiest in your life?
A rather funny question!
Somebody ask me that one in Italy
which occasion was the happiest in my life – a reporter!
I told her that on the day that I passed my examination in England.
To get the OK that I was coming back home, was the happiest day of my life then.
But after that interview, I was arrested the next morning by Italian police.
The happiest day in my life was when I was released from jail in Italy!
That I can foresee now, you know
I am only saying this because maybe I want to see a point in my life
because I want to be happy everyday.
Also to date, how many wives have you got?
I only have about sixteen left!
Because they were originally about twenty-seven or twenty-eight?
Why did they have to leave you?
They were tired!
Apart from your immediate family, who is the person you hold in very high esteem?
Ohh! There are some young boys – heavy young boys!
One is called ID! One is called Duro! One is called Femi-photo!
These three young boys they’ve been with me for a long time.
When they burnt my house many people left me you know! Because I didn’t have bread (money),
till now I still don’t have enough bread!
Many people left me, but these boys stayed – going on and everything! I dig them so much.
And you know they read a lot of books, history books, African political books!
Economic books! African things – they are very vast in knowledge and everyting, I dig them you know!
I trust them completely. For now! I trust them completely!
Also like any other human being you have your ups and your downs. I have my ups and my downs!
Everybody does!
What day marks you the most?
On the day my house was burnt and I was taken straight to Abalti Barracks by the soldiers,
so much confusion and I didn’t know that my mother was thrown from the window at that time.
I saw my mother outside Abalti barrack, surrounded by soldiers outside the barracks
she was looking so worried at what was happening.
In her old age she was so flabbergasted you know!
Her expression, the soldiers the confusion, the way she was handled ohh!
I couldn’t stand it man! I can never forget that day.
The look on her face saying: “Is this the nation we have struggled to build?” All these things going in my head you know!
And she couldn’t do anything about it. I will never forget that expression.
What would you call your greatest achievement in life?
On the day I carried my mother’s coffin to Doddan Barracks in 1979 on the thirtieth of September.
My brother, people in this country didn’t know what I faced that day to do that thing man!
But you see I had to do it.
There was this big order to destroy the coffin I placed in the house (ruins of Kalakuta) while I was in Berlin,
and on my return I promised I put there
I knew I will succeed in getting it in their.
There was big row they wanted to shoot me and everything!
But I came out of it!
It was a great achievement.
Do you not get annoyed at all? What is the thing that would really make you mad?
All the people who try to misrepresent me: I get annoyed – please forget it!
You are really a mellow person?
Really I am! But why people think I am not mellow is that when I stick to my point I don’t shake!
So you are firm?
Some people think firmness is madness.
There is so much dishonesty around, they want you to come and join them.
I am firm I believe in what I am doing if somebody is not firm the society will break-up.
So we cannot afford it now, if I die and succeeding
I would have laid the foundation for kids to see light!
Let me play one of my grand father’s songs!
I want to play it for a reason you know because people really don’t know what my grand-father did for this country
I am talking about J.J. you see!
Maybe some school boys will read from history books:
J.J. was a Reverend, he did missionaries – yes he did one thing,
he brought Christianity to Western to the Yoruba country
– which he did through ignorance you see!
Because his father told him that he was going to be learning in the place.
Sorry to say he was one of those who helped to destroy our tradition.
Thank you! I have been talking to Mr. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti,
the President of Afrobeat Nigeria and he is called the Chief Priest.
Hope you enjoyed listening to him, listen to his views,
going into him, having a little part of his life and knowing him. Good Night.