Music

Watch Beyoncé Pay Homage to Fela Kuti During Her Coachella Performance

The singer's band played Fela Kuti's "Zombie" during her unforgettable set last night.

Unless you've been living under a wi-fi-less rock for the past few days, you've heard all the hype around #BeyChella—Beyoncé's highly-anticipated return to the stage at this year's Coachella music festival in California.

The star took over the festival's main stage last night for a 2 hour-long set which saw her running through her entire discography, bringing to the stage special guests like Jay-Z, Solange and even fellow Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

As expected, Beyoncé's set was electrifying and filled with odes to various aspects of black music, history and culture. At one point, the singer payed homage to Fela Kuti as her band ran through a pulsating rendition of the afrobeat legend's 1976 classic "Zombie." Check out the clip below.

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This New Musical Explores the Life of 'Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Queens'

"Nobody ever talks about the 27 wives."

A new musical by Nigerian arts mogul, Bolanle Austen-Peters dives into the life of Fela Kuti and his relationship with the Kalakuta Queens—the 27 women he married in a single ceremony in 1978.

In a new video from the BBC, Austen-Peters give us a look into the production process, and tells us more about why she wanted to focus on the story of the Kalakuta Queens, who also acted as dancers for the musician, in particular.

"It just occurred to me that nobody ever talked about the 27 wives that he had. And I wondered who they were? I wanted to understand what informed their decision to marry one man, and what drove them. You know, what was their passion?" Watch the full video below.

Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Queens is currently showing at the renovated Terra Culture Arena in Lagos, which Austen-Peters founded back in 2003.

We spoke to Austen-Peters back in August about her mission to promote Nigeria's arts and culture scene and about producing the West End's first Nigerian musical, Wakaa!. Revisit our interview with her here.

Fela and the Kalakuta Queens deserve all the shine!

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Watch Erykah Badu Pay Homage To Fela Kuti on Fallon

Backed by The Roots, Badu blended "On & On" with Fela Kuti's "Sorrow Tears and Blood" on Fallon.

When Knitting Factory Records announced Erykah Badu as the curator of the new Fela Kuti box set, we knew we were in for a treat, but who could have foreseen such a sweet live melody from the Dallas native inspired by the King of Afrobeat?

To mark the now sold out release of the Badu curated release, Badu returned to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for a Fela-inspired performance. Taking the stage donning traditional threaded tresses (a skill you can learn how to replicate here) Badu was backed by The Legendary Roots Crew and accompanied by dancer Storyboard P as she performed a medley of her hit "On & On" and a cover of Fela Kuti's "Sorrow Tears and Blood" for the Tonight Show audience.

There were only 3,000 copies of the limited edition Badu-curated box set, which comes with a 16"x24" poster designed by Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu, the creative force behind 26 of Fela Kuti's album covers, and a 20-page full-color booklet.

The booklet features seven personal essays written by Badu, seven in-depth commentaries by veteran music journalist and Afrobeat historian, Chris May; song lyrics; and never before published photos of Fela Kuti. The audio has been restored and remastered from Fela's original Nigerian recordings. The artwork for each album has been meticulously recreated from original album artwork, alongside vintage vinyl label artwork.

A true work of art paying homage to "Fucking Genius." Badu's words, not ours, but we tend to emphatically agree.

Be sure to head to the OkayAfrica Shop to shop our official Fela Kuti collection before it's gone too.

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