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Fela Kuti sleeves

April 29, 2010

Nigerian bandleader and political agitator Fela Kuti recorded some of the most innovative albums of the 70s and 80s. Generally each containing only two 15 minute tracks, his LPS featured some distinctive artwork, though perhaps more importantly defined the genre of Afrobeat – a fusion of jazz and funk with traditional west African rhythms. Extremely popular across Africa, Fela was nevertheless persecuted by the authorities for his outspoken political views. Turner Prize-winning artist and director of the BAFTA Award-winning Hunger, Steve McQueen, is currently making a biopic. Documentary Music Is The Weapon (1982), which recently screened at the British Museum, is the best way to see the man himself in action.

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