Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 - Zombie (1977)

A scorching summer is coming, so some Fela Kuti is in order. Check out 'Zombie', 12 minutes of frantic afro-beat energy that triggered a brutal attack by the Nigerian army (ordered by the president, Kuti's ex-classmate in school) who killed Kuti's mother, murdered his friends, and destroyed the Kalakuta Republic - Kuti's anti-state commune. All in all, a lesson in the power of music.

"The album was a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic (a commune that Fela had established in Nigeria), during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Kuti was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. Soon after Kuti's mother had been injured, the commanding officer defecated on the elderly woman's face. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Kuti's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Kuti claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Kuti's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the main army barrack in Lagos and write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier", referencing the official inquiry that claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier."

Here's the whole album.

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