Nigeria in the Search for Democratic Rebirth: An interrogation of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Musical Impact, Ethno Musicology and Political Expressionism

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Adu, Funmilayo Modupe

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Published: 16 February 2022 | Article Type : Research Article

Abstract

Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s musical genre entails Afrocentricity, highlife, musical activism, and song writing. Felas musicology speaks in high dialectic tone of social protestseverally for decades, to impact political change in Nigeria. The decades between 1958 and 1997 popularized the defense of the oppressed and expressed an African ideal as opposed to colonialism, post-colonial domination, and political oppression. Historically radicalism in music was a battle against oppression in Europe and elsewhere. The invention of the Afrobeat by Fela created a vent to criticize, correct and project an expectation of an ideal of African democracy. Historically, Fela was born into a family where activism and human right protection was an important agenda fought by his mother, Mrs Funmilayo Kuti and later his Brother Beko Ransome Kuti, who led the campaign for democracy, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Nigeria, defending human rights and political oppression in the hey days of military dictatorship. Fela defended the oppressed through his musical expressionism, a traditional mix of jazz and African lyrics which he termed Afrobeats. Felas music was musical expressionism per excellence; it was patterned after the African theme in ethnomusicology. This paper argues that radical musicology in Fela’s presentation was unique as it inculcated two cultural values of African and the European and even post humus; it still expresses criticisms of the political class and speaks out as a voice to promote change (political revolution). It is further the argument of this paper that democratic reordering in Nigeria severally benefited from fela’s political expressionism in music.

Keywords: Fela Anikulapo, Political Expressionism, Musical Impact, Democratic Rebirth, Nigeria.

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Adu, Funmilayo Modupe. (2022-02-16). "Nigeria in the Search for Democratic Rebirth: An interrogation of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Musical Impact, Ethno Musicology and Political Expressionism." *Volume 6*, 1, 1-7