In the 1970s and 1980s, Legendary musician Fela Kuti pioneered the sound of Afrobeat, an entrancing amalgam of West African highlife music, jazz, and American funk. Among his fans, he counts David Byrne, Brian Eno, and Thom Yorke. Fela was also a lifelong social activist and organizer who served time, a "prisoner of conscience" according to Amnesty International. One biographer famously described Fela as a "superstar, singer, musician, Panafricanist, polygamist, mystic, legend."
Above, Jean Jacques Flori and Stephen Tchal-Gadjieff's excellent concise documentary about Fela, shot in 1982. It's aptly titled "Music is the Weapon." From the film description:
Fela Kuti is to African music what Bob Marley is to reggae: its prophet. All contemporary forms of black music, from funk to electronic, owe something to the irresistible groove of the Afrobeat sound that he created. He recorded more than 60 albums and spent a lifetime fighting against political corruption in his homeland of Nigeria, where the people affectionately called him their "Black President."
Shot in Lagos at the peak of his career in 1982, this documentary contains interviews with Fela detailing his thoughts on politics, Pan-Africanism, music and religion, alongside unpublished versions of songs like ITT, Army Arrangement and Power Show.
And here's one of my favorite Fela tracks, "Fear Not for Man":
Jonathan Mann (previously) writes, "Like many people, I've been disturbed by the borg-like tweets coming out of the Amazon Ambassador program. I took a few of the bleakest ones and set them to music. It turned into an incredibly sad song."
Next month, Impulse! Records will release Blue World, previously unheard recordings that legendary jazz pioneer John Coltrane recorded with his quartet in 1964. Most of the tunes are different versions of known Coltrane songs with the exception of the title track that you can hear above. From Spin: …Coltrane recorded Blue World between the sessions […]
In the 1980s, Stuart Swezey was at the epicenter of Southern California’s underground culture. The co-founder of Amok Books, Swezey was also known for organizing extreme industrial and avant-garde outdoor happenings in remote locations like the Mojave Desert that featured performances by Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Minutemen, and many other experimental and […]
It’s a great time to be a maker. 3D printers are on store shelves for anyone to buy, and coder kits like Arduino and Raspberry Pi are letting kids as young as 9 or 10 dive into the Internet of Things. Here are a few examples of our favorite tech toys, all priced low enough […]
Want to make a hit? The right software is out there for anyone, but any music producer will tell you that finding the right sound can still take time and talent. Still, the right tools are a great shortcut, which makes this Synth & Sound Pack Bundle absolutely priceless. And now that it’s on sale […]
Let’s face it: People at the gym aren’t bragging about their headphones. If they were that great, they’d be listening to them instead of talking about them. So while we’re sure those new PowerBeats Pro earbuds are something special, why would you shell out $250 for a tiny pair of speakers when comparable ones are […]