News Brief
Photo: David Corio. Courtesy of Partisan Records.

Fela Kuti Has a New Reissue and a New Official Website

Partisan & Knitting Factory Records reveal "the first-ever official website and comprehensive historical resource for the life and music of Fela Kuti" alongside a reissue of Music Of Many Colours.

The king of afrobeat Fela Kuti has an extensive new website.

The new website, which was developed in close partnership with the Kuti family by Partisan and Knitting Factory Records, will look to provide the latest news about Fela re-issues from Fela, new projects and events, commissioned editorial articles, merch, and more.

Fela's longtime manager Rikki Stein mentions, "bringing together such a gifted team of creators to build this ultimate, all-singing, all-dancing tribute to my friend is a source of immense pride and satisfaction. As is always the case with any enterprise involving Fela, it goes above and beyond people simply exercising their professions and becomes a labor of love for all involved."


"Twenty-two years after his passing, this testament illustrates and illuminates the myriad reasons for which Fela Anikulapo Kuti and his works are, ever-increasingly, respected and admired throughout the world. Everybody say: Yeah Yeah!"

The new Fela website is launching with with a new era-by-era history of the afrobeat legend written by Chris May.

It also features a new reissue of Music Of Many Colours, the 1980 Fela album featuring Roy Ayers.

You can visit the new Fela Kuti website now.


News Brief
Image courtesy of BAP Productions.

Renowned Nigerian Musical 'Fela and the Kalakuta Queens,' Is Heading to South Africa

The musical, which highlights the lives of Fela Kuti's 27 wives, will make its debut at the South African State Theatre next month.

Bolanle Austen-Peter's unique retelling of the story of Fela Kuti and the 27 women he married in a single ceremony in 1978, known as the Kalakuta Queens, is set to make its debut in South Africa next month.

The acclaimed musical, which first opened at Lago's Terra Kulture Arts and Culture Center in December 2017, will be showing at the South African State Theatre—known as the largest theatre complex in Africa. The play's 36 member cast will be led by Laitan "Heavywind" Adeniji and Patrick Diabuah who both portray Fela in the play. They'll be backed by a fifteen-piece band.

Aside from being an exploration of the life of the storied Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Queens also focuses on the life and contributions of the women who played a major role in his musical rise and "gives a unique insight into the negotiation of gender and power relations at the Kalakuta Republic, while also showcasing their unique fashion, dance and African identity, and unmasking common misconceptions about them," according to a statement shared in Broadway World. The showing of the play in South Africa is in line with the State Theatre's Pan-African mission.

READ: Take an Exclusive Look Inside "Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Queens" the Musical

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Audio

Fela Kuti's 'Zombie' Is Coming Out On Limited Edition 8-Track

"Zombie" and "Mr. Follow Follow" are available in the nostalgic 8-track cartridge.

"Zombie," Fela Kuti's 1976 protest anthem and scathing attack on the Nigerian military, is getting an 8-track re-release.

Knitting Factory Records, Kalakuta Sunrise and Partisan Records have made 300 limited editions copies of Zombie/Mr. Follow Follow which you can pre-order now ahead of its December 7 release.

Fela Kuti's classic song uses zombies as a metaphor for soldiers mindlessly following orders. The song is thought to have triggered the Nigerian government's horrific assault on the Kalakuta Republic, in which the compound burned to the ground, Fela was brutally beaten and his mother, Nigerian feminist icon Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, was murdered.

You can pre-order Zombie/Mister Follow Follow on 8-track now and read more about each song from Mabinuori Kayode Idowu's text accompanying the release below.

Purchase Fela Kuti's Zombie/Mr Follow Follow on 8-Track

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Interview
Justice Mukheli. Courtesy of Black Major/Bongeziwe Mabandla.

Interview: Bongeziwe Mabandla's New Album Is a Calm Meditation On Relationships

We speak with the South African artist about his captivating new album, iimini, love cycles, and the unexpected influence of Bon Iver.

"I've been playing at home for so many years and pretending to be having shows in my living room, and today it's actually happening," Bongeziwe Mabandla says, smiling out at me from my cellphone as I watch him play songs on Instagram Live, guitar close to his chest.

Two weekends ago, Mabandla was meant to be celebrating the release of his third album, iimini, at the Untitled Basement in Braamfontein in Joburg, which would no doubt have been packed with some of the many fans the musician has made since his debut release, Umlilo, in 2012. With South Africa joining many other parts of the world in a lockdown, those dates were cancelled and Mabandla, like many other artists, took to social media to still play some tracks from the album. The songs on iimini are about the life and death of a relationship—songs that are finding their way into the hearts of fans around the world, some of whom, now stuck in isolation, may be having to confront the ups and downs of love, with nowhere to hide.

The day before his Instagram Live mini-show, Mabandla spoke to OkayAfrica on lockdown from his home in Newtown about the lessons he's learned from making the album, his new-found love for Bon Iver, and how he's going to be spending his time over the next few weeks.

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Interview
Lueking Photos. Courtesy of emPawa Africa.

Interview: GuiltyBeatz Proves He's Truly 'Different'

The Ghanaian producer talks to us about his debut EP, Different, the massive success of "Akwaaba," producing for Beyoncé and more.

GuiltyBeatz isn't a new name in the Ghanaian music scene. A casual music fan's first introduction to him would've likely been years ago on "Sample You," one of Mr Eazi's early breakout hits. However, he had scored his first major hit two years before that, in the Nigerian music space on Jesse Jagz' and Wizkid's 2013 hit "Bad Girl." In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists.

In the years to come, the producer has gone on to craft productions for some of Ghana's most talented artists, having worked with the likes of Efya, Pappy Kojo, Sarkodie, R2Bees, Stonebwoy, Bisa Kdei, Wande Coal, Moelogo and many more over the last decade. The biggest break of the talented producer's career, however, came with the arrival of his own single "Akwaaba".

In 2018, GuiltyBeatz shared "Akwaaba" under Mr Eazi's Banku Music imprint, shortly afterwards the song and its accompanying dance went viral. The track and dance graced party floors, music & dance videos, and even church auditoriums all around the world, instantly making him one of Africa's most influential producers. Awards, nominations, and festival bookings followed the huge success of "Akwaaba." Then, exactly a year later, the biggest highlight of his career so far would arrive: three production credits on Beyoncé's album The Lion King: The Gift.

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