There’s is a lot to be said for hearing a band in their country of origin. Dylan blaring out in a soft top convertible down to Monterrey sticks out, Peter Gabriel at Hammersmith concluding his Shock the Monkey tour also sticks out. Then there is Fela. We’d been travelling through Africa, had cut across the top of Cameroun into Nigeria and headed for the northern town of Maidiguri. As we approached Maidiguri, the van we were was travelling at high speed along the largest highways we’d seen for months. The side of the highway was littered with crashed and burned out cars, a broad flat landscape behind them until we reached the chaotic centre of town. The soundtrack to our arrival was Fela Anikulapo Kuti and the Egypt 80 band. Fela and Afro funk was by no means the most popular music in Africa or even Nigeria (more a Western thing), but on this occasion it was and it conveyed all the the power, the energy, the fury, the crowds, the heat, the busyness, of this part of the world.
We never got to see Fela at the Shrine in Lagos but I finally saw him at » Continue Reading.