A chance to rewitness a musical celebration of the Black President
On May 17, the venue 229 in central London played host to a gathering of top musicians in celebration of the Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer, Fela Kuti, prior to a new ten CD set release (May 20) by Knitting Factory Records as part of their complete reissue series of the Black President’s music.
The packed out show drew together artists who knew Fela Kuti and worked with him as musicians. Backed by Dele Sosimi and the Afrobeat Orchestra, the likes of Ginger Baker and Tony Allen paid tribute to the father of Afrobeat, performing interpretations of his songs to a sold-out audience. There was also a younger generation of artists such as Keziah Jones, Shingai Shoniwa (The Noisettes) and Afrikan Boy.
The entire event was filmed, and every weekday Okayafrica, the official Fela Kuti YouTube channel, and Vimeo have been releasing new videos from the evening. Highlights include Shingai Shoniwa performing ‘Lady’ and the first stage reunion in decades of drumming aficionados Ginger Baker and Tony Allen.