Fela Kuti's Unearthed Debut Recording 'Fela's Special' From 1960

Hear Fela Kuti's first ever recorded track, the unearthed highlife style "Fela's Special" from 1960.

Before he became the indisputable king of afrobeat, Fela Kuti laid down a few recordings in the style of highlife for the UK-based label Melodisc. "Fela's Special," recorded in London in 1960, is one of Fela's first ever recorded tracks. Credited to Fela Ransome-Kuti and his band The Highlife Rakers, the unearthed track will appear alongside another long-lost Fela find ("Aigana") on Soundway Records' upcoming compilation Highlife On The Move: Selected Nigerian & Ghanaian Recordings from London & Lagos 1954-66. 

As Markus Coester notes in the sleevenotes for the compilation, “Even though [the recordings] had been discographically tracked and people interested in Fela’s musical life knew of them, they kept hiding for more than 50 years. Before I came across them, I was even in doubt whether they had been released at all. These are amazing first recordings, however.”

Highlife On The Move will be released as double CD & triple 180g gatefold vinyl (with a bonus 7 inch), it will be accompanied by a 44-page CD booklet and 12-page vinyl booklet with notes by Coester and rare photographs. The compilation is available for pre-order now and will be out March 16 on Soundway. Stream Fela and The Highlife Rakers' rare "Fela's Special" below via The Guardian.


Interview: TOBi Is Making Unapologetic Soul Music

We talk to the Nigerian-Canadian artist about his latest project ELEMENTS, his creative process, mental health and more.

It's a big year for music, and in the midst of many good drops from the motherland and beyond, we caught up with Nigerian-Canadian singer/songwriter TOBi to discuss his recently released 10-track project ELEMENTS.

ELEMENTS is a fusion of old-school soul, contemporary rap sequences, clever lyrical symbols & metaphors. and melancholic vibes which reference TOBi's Nigerian heritage through afrobeats, the reality of his life and the state of the world today. The compilation features production from Nigerian producer Juls on "Dollas and Cents" and "Made Me Everything and Shine."

Below, we also discuss his creative process and passion for mental health with the announcement of an exciting collaboration. "I'm attracted and curious about so many things in life that I can't help but bring [them] into my world and craft," the multi-genre artist says.

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