Photos

This Is What Lagos' Felabration Looked Like

Since 1998, Felabration has congregated Fela Kuti fans at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja. Here's what went down this year.

Since 1998, Felabration has congregated afrobeat enthusiasts, social justice advocates, and most importantly Fela fans, at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, to celebrate the life of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti.


In its 18th year, the weeklong event, which ran from October 10th to October 16th, seems more timely than ever given Nigeria's current political and economic climate. Concert attendees mused at the premonition of Fela's lyrics and the eerie way in which they are currently playing out in Nigerian politics.

"To me, Fela is a prophet," said Felabration attendee, Adeyemi Awotilu. “All that he said in the past is happening now."

Femi Kuti, who took the stage at the Felabration finale was a crowd favorite. Although the eldest Kuti offspring is a regular at the New Afrika Shrine, the crowd marveled at his performance, which depicted the politically charged essence of his father, but stayed true to his unique musical style.

Flanked by dancers clad in flamingo pink costumes and his band, Kuti played multiple instruments, sang, danced and still found time to join other acts like Nneka and his brother, Seun Kuti on stage.

Regardless of how well his performance was received, Kuti emphasizes that Felabration is not about him or Seun.

“Anyone can see us during the week at the Shrine," said Kuti. “Felabration is more about us welcoming the artists that come to pay their own respects to Fela."

Artists like Nneka, Waje, Jesse Jagz, and Patoranking, who individually graced the stage to honor the legend and invoke his spirit. On the Felabration stage, artists seemed to channel whatever Fela-like energy they could by gyrating to the piercing sounds of the saxophone or engaging in Fela's infamous call and response with the crowd.

For Adetola Gbogboade, Felabration is a place to learn about Fela. Surrounded by posters, t-shirts, CDs and other promotional material immortalizing Fela, millennials are still unravelling his music and his message nineteen years after his passing.

“From Fela's music and being at Felabration, I've learned to believe in myself, in what I think, in what I believe is true and positive about the world," said Gbogboade. "I've also learned that just because the world is following this path, doesn't mean that I should follow the same path. Believe in yourself, believe in what you feel is right."

A fan basks in the moment. Photography by OkayAfrica.

When asked if he was a Fela fan, Felabration attendee, Hamid Ayodeji noted that Fela's music raised him.“The fact that he saw the future before everyone else and he fought for something is inspiring."

Young artists like Akorede Sax use Felabration as an opportunity to pay tribute to the legend. Sax whose performance was modeled after Fela, echoed both Gbogboade and Ayodeji's comments, “His music inspires people to do great things and that's what Afrobeats is all about, inspiring people to do great things."

During his performance, which closed the event on Saturday night, Seun Kuti explained to the crowd that the history of afrobeat is rooted in struggle, resistance, and hope.

“They think say Afrobeat na only for dance, Afrobeat na for struggle," mused Kuti before launching into a song from his recently released EP. “Afrobeat gives people the hope and the resistance they need to defeat the elitist ideology in our society."

Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80 perform songs of the new EP, Struggle Sounds. Photography by OkayAfrica.

For other attendees, Felabration serves as a place of fellowship. Many noted that in spite of the economic hardships facing Nigeria, Felabration is a place where “everyone can come the way they are," said Helen Ajomole.

According to Felabration attendee, Austin Imonlaime, “Fela's kind of music, isn't music, it's a message"

“Even when the prophet dies," continues Imonlaime, “the message remains, and I think it's the message that brings everyone together. It's the message that unifies people."

All photographs by OkayAfrica.

A fan relaxes. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Suya at the Shrine. Photography by OkayAfrica.

A young fan. Photography by OkayAfrica.

A young fan. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Waje speaks of Fela under a watchful eye. Photography by OkayAfrica.

A fan overlooks the stage. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Nneka at the Shrine. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Jesse Jagz at the Shrine. Photography by OkayAfrica.

New acts also took the stage. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Seun Kuti. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Femi Kuti and his dancers. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Inside Fela's home, several pictures of Fela and his heroes hang on the walls. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Dancer at the Shrine. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Patoranking. Photography by OkayAfrica.

A fan basks in the moment. Photography by OkayAfrica.

A fan overlooks the stage. Photography by OkayAfrica.

Music

The WAV 2019: 10 Artists Shaping the Future of South African Music

Welcome to the new wave.

It's here! Today we are launching OkayAfrica's first annual "South African New WAV"—our annual round-up of the most exciting young SA music artists.

For Youth Month, we've picked the 10 singers/rappers/producers who we think will define the sound of SA for years to come.

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OkayAfrica and B4Bonah Share New 'B4Beginning' Capsule Collection

We've teamed up with the Ghanaian artist ahead of the release of his debut project for some colorful new merch.

Rising Ghanaian star B4Bonah, premieres his catchy debut track "See Body," and to mark the song's release, OkayAfrica has teamed up with the artist to share a new collection of tees, that'll fit nicely into your summer wardrobe.

The artist's latest track is a party jam, that sees him flowing "over an earworm flute melody and afrobeats percussion," using "his rasping flow to celebrate the girl of his dreams." The track was produced by J.Rocs.

B4Bonah - See Body www.youtube.com

In conjunction with the song's release, two new shirt designs are available for preorder at our Okayshop. The vibrant shirts feature the artist's image on colorful blue and green colored blocks, with the words "B4BONAH B4BEGINNING," on the back—referencing the artist's debut mixtape, which is slated for release in late July. The project features Medikal, Mugeez (R2Bees), Amaarae & Ivy Sole.


B4Bonah is an artist to watch, as he continues to make his presence known in the Ghanaian music scene.

Watch the music video for "See Body" above, and head to shop.okayplayer.com now to pick up to pre-order a shirt (or two). You can also preorder B4Bonah's B4beginning mixtape here.

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Watch EL, Joey B and Falz' New Video for 'Ehua'

Ghana meets Nigeria in this hilarious new clip.

Ghanaian rappers EL and Joey B connect with Nigeria's Falz for this addictive new collaboration and music video for "Ehua."

"Ehua" is built on energetic afro-electronic beat work produced by EL himself. Joey B handles the hook while Falz kicks things off early with a solid verse.

The eye-catching and hilarious music video for the single, directed by Yaw Skyface, features EL as a policeman, Falz as the 'oga' bossman, and Joey B as a worker for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Falz takes Joey B's woman by showing off his money and status, so Joey B enlists policeman EL to get back at Falz. The plan backfires however as the officer decides to stick around and party with the rich instead of helping the everyday worker out.

For more GH hits check out our Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month roundups and follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Watch the new music video for EL, Joey B and Falz' "Ehua" below.

EL ft Joey B & Falz - Ehua (Official Video) youtu.be


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