UPR!SE is a blog dedicated to The Shrine's Patron Saint and inspiration, Fela Anikulpo Kuti.

The blog focuses on music, fashion, art, design, politics and culture. It is a celebration of trailblazing souls who rise up without compromise.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lagos to Chicago - Shrine 101

Now lots of people are already in the know, but some folks may not be aware that The Shrine owes its name to Fela Kuti, or simply Fela as he is known to millions of fans worldwide. Fela (1938-1997) was a Nigerian born multi-instumentalist, composer, political and human rights activist. He was a pioneer of Afrobeat music, a fusion of African rhythms with jazz and funk. Fela regularly performed with his band, Nigeria '70 at his personal nightclub, The Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos to Chicago. The name is in homage to The Original Black President, Mr. Fela Kuti.

Fela kicked out the jams in his all too short lifetime. Here is a short list of essential Fela or Fela related albums.... In no particular order.

Fela Kuti - Expensive Sh*t (1975) Contains 'Water No Get Enemy' This will cause a riot on the dance floor - ask Timbuck2

Fela Kuti - He Miss Road (1975) Produced by Cream drummer Ginger Baker. (Who also recorded two records with Fela worth checking. One under each man's name respectively.)

Fela Kuti - Zombi (1977) Fela rips the Nigerian army for brainwashing its soldiers..."Music is the weapon"

Fela Kuti & Roy Ayers - Music of Many Colors (1980) Contains '2000 Black'. Afrobeat meets Ayers funky jazz vibes - classic!

Fela Kuti - Lagos Baby 1963-69 (2008) Compilation shows the evolution of sound from Highlife to Afrobeat with his original Koola Lobitos band.

Fela Kuti - Shakara (1971) With 'Lady' and 'Shakara', long time fan favorites. The cover is worth price alone.

Tony Allen - No Discrimination (1979) Fela's funky drummer and band leader for twelve years. (He was relpaced with FOUR drummers.) Contains 'Love Is A Natural Thing'. Afrobeat with some squishy synth lines ala Parliament.

Tony Allen - Black Voices (1999) Tony comes back with a modern dubbed out sound with bits of electronics and Parliament's Mike 'Cop' Payne & Gary 'Mudbone' Cooper, too.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Seun Kuti & Fela's Egypt 80 (2008) Fela's son continues the Afrobeat sound with his father's band. He is monster live too, just like dad!

Femi Kuti - African Shrine (2004) Femi cooks on this live set with both originals and a cover of his father's 'Water get No Enemy'!