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Fela Kuti


The potent political and musical force embodied by Fela Kuti exploded onto the scene in the late 1960s with a driving rhythmic force that would form Afro-Beat and ultimately change the face of African music. Kuti's explosive music drew on jazz, reggae, traditional African music and a good deal of James Brown soul to create a new style of Funk whose accents shifted in unusual ways. Driven by the percussive drumming of Tony Allen (and at one point, former Cream drummer Ginger Baker), Kuti's music meant the same to the underclass of Nigeria -- and Africa in general -- as Bob Marley's meant to Jamaica. His trumpet, keyboard, tenor and alto sax assisted his vocal shouts, arrangements and brash showmanship as he led any one of his large bands. Though he died in the late 1990s, his music lives on in the band led by his son Femi.
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