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Fela: Life And Times Of An African

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Raucous, uninhibited and proud, Fela was one of Africa's most intriguing personalities, for his controversial public persona as much as for his music. It's difficult to say for what Fela, born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, was best known: his band publicized Afropop in the 1980s; he repeatedly spoke out against unfair politics in Africa and abroad; his life was abundant with drugs and sex. This exhaustive and objective profile, written by a Yale ethnomusicology professor, examines the Nigerian superstar's life and work from 1938 to his death in 1997. Veal traces Fela's roots to the diverse town of Abeokuta, noting the musical influences left by family and community members there. Following a typically mischievous childhood, Fela pursued an education at Trinity College of Music in London. Soon he and his orchestra were touring the U.S. under the name Nigeria 70, developing the new sound of Afropop. Although the tour was not a popular breakthrough, their subsequent return to Nigeria placed them on the budding African music stage. The book goes on to survey Fela's life at home and worldwide, detailing his imprisonment and physical abuse, his performances, his listeners' reactions and his compositions. Fela covered political corruption, mysticism, frustration with Western views on Africa and other significant subjects in his music, all the while continuing a sexually promiscuous life. Veal has taken on the staggering task of portraying a musician/politician/rebel, and he executes it well. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Fela was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in 1938 into an upper-middle-class family whose members included several well-known educators and religious figures. In 1958, he was sent to London's Trinity College of Music, where he discovered Charlie Parker and John Coltrane and soon formed his own band, Koola Lobitos. Over the years, he developed a jazz-funk fusion style dubbed Afrobeat. Little known in America, Fela recorded dozens of albums and became an international superstar with a social and political conscience. His blistering attacks on Nigeria's corrupt military government landed him in jail, in exile, and in danger of losing his life. Veal (ethnomusicology, Yale) became interested in Fela nearly 20 years ago as a student at Boston's Berklee College of Music. Extensive notes, a comprehensive bibliography, and a discography reflect the book's scholarly credentials. This is an important work on world music's most influential figure since Bob Marley, but most cost-conscious libraries will want to purchase the paperback edition.--Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L., Federation, Curwensville, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566397643
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 5/19/2000
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.34 (w) x 10.22 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
1 Introduction: "Abami Eda" 1
2 Abeokuta (1938-1957) 21
3 "Gentleman" (1958-1970) 39
4 "African Message" (1970-1974) 77
5 "The Black President" (1974-1979) 121
6 "A Serious Cultural Episode" (1979-1992) 167
7 "Fear Not for Man" (1985-1997) 221
8 Conclusion: "Look and Laugh" 241
Appendix: Koola Lobitos, Nigeria 70, Afrika 70, and Egypt 80
Personnel 261
Notes 263
Bibliography 283
Discography 295
Index 301
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