Events
Photo by Leni Sinclair/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Felabration 2020: Femi & Seun Kuti, Wande Coal, Niniola and More Will Play Virtual 3-Day Fest

The annual Fela Kuti commemoration will be done virtually, and its talented lineup promises not to disappoint.

While the year 2020 has taken so much from us, musical fans will be pleased to know that the annual Felabration music festival is on its way to scare away the dark clouds.

The festival, used to commemorate the irreplaceable force that was Nigerian musical icon Fela Kuti, will return virtually this year, as to keep fans, supporters and musicians safe.

This year's musical guests include Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Made Kuti, Niniola, Wande Coal, Joeboy, Antibalas, WurlD and more, who are all on deck to get the crowds moving.


Organised by the Felabration Organising Committee, the week-long musical event is on it's 22nd trip around the sun, as it was first organised and celebrated by Kuti's eldest daughter, Yeni, in 1998. And since 2005, the annual event has transformed into seven days of connecting through concerts, carnival parades, lectures, film screenings, art exhibitions, seminars and workshops, all in varying spaces across Lagos. While the festival originated in Fela Kuti's home country, it quickly became a global celebration as the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and many other countries joined in in later years.

Over two decades after his passing, Kuti's influences are still clear as day through the growth of the music festival. And his political messages still ring in the ears of those closest to him and his art, "My father's political views were expressed in his music", his daughter Yeni says, "You can't divorce the two. You cannot honour Fela without recognising his social and political activism at the same time." And the emphasis on 'Symposium' this year highlights the importance of African conversations with speakers like Her Excellency Arikana Chihombori Quao, Dr. Vincent Magombe, Dele Farotimi and Kweku Mandela lending their voices towards the conversation around "Colomentality".

If you're sold, 2020's Felabration music and art festival runs virtually October 15-17 and streams on all platforms.

See more information in the flyers below.

Update from the organizers (October 16): Last night's live streaming of the Felabration 2020 performances wasn't successful due to insufficient bandwidth. It will be available shortly on Fela's YouTube channel. However, the bandwidth problem has now been resolved and tonight's show will be available, featuring performances by WurlD, Ben Idakula, Peruzzi, Falana. Join us!

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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