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Nigerian Pop Music, In The Shadow Of Fela Kuti

Nigerian Pop Music, In The Shadow Of Fela Kuti

Krizbeatz calls himself "the King of AfroDance", the Nigerian music that has received thousands and thousands dancing throughout Africa and the world.

For Fela, as he's nonetheless known to fans, music was often a life-threatening fight in opposition to corrupt military dictatorships that dominated Nigeria in the Seventies and 1980s.

For the proficient Krizbeatz, a child of the capitalist and democratic 1990s, music is a game. However the self-assured 22-year-old music producer – real name Chris Alvin Sunday – nonetheless takes his inspiration from Fela when he’s at his mixing desk.

"I studied House Music in South Africa however I’m a Nigerian. Afrobeat is what I grew up listening to. Afrobeat is who I'm," he said. In 2016, Krizbeatz produced the hit Pana, which has had close to 53 million views on YouTube and been downloaded 10.5 million times on Spotify.

In it, the singer Tekno Miles declares his love for his sweetheart and guarantees to drive her to the church in a Porsche. Some feel that 20 years after his loss of life in August 1997, Fela would surely turn in his grave to listen to the new generation celebrating designer labels, luxurious cars and champagne.

But Krizbeatz says Nigerian music is at the beginning about the beat."If you speak about a Nigerian tune, you speak concerning the beat earlier than anything else," he said, grabbing an electric guitar to document a few notes on a loop on his computer."You hear it and you just wish to dance and be pleased, before you'll be able to take heed to the lyrics."

Abdul Okwechime organises the week-lengthy "Felabration" festival of Fela’s life and work, ending on the weekend and held yearly around the musician’s birthday. He is less than impressed with the flip that lyrics immediately have taken."They talk too much about femininity, the sensuality of ladies," he complained."We've got misplaced protest music, music to get up to, to make you aware of the society, and our society is unwell," he said, as he took visitors around Fela’s commune, dubbed Kalakuta Republic in Lagos.

The musician lived at the commune – which he once declared an impartial republic – with his household, band and 27 wives. "Now they (fashionable musicians) discuss butts, they discuss boobs … the sexuality of women, that’s what they speak about now," stated Okwechime. Nevertheless, Fela’s music and affect remains to be important.

Even Nigerian music download megastar Wizkid – the first Afrobeats artist to headline a sold-out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall – opened his historic concert there in September with Fela’s 1972 epic, Lady. Other artists pay tribute in several ways.

At his Borno Winners Empire studio, in the upmarket Lagos suburb of Lekki, Adekunle Gold is carrying traditional dress and recording his second album. Round him is his band, The 79th Component, named after the atomic number for gold. The singer says he has created a new sound, mixing musical types inspired by Nigerian Afropop, Indian harmonies and Ghanaian Highlife, however underlying it with percussion and vocals like Fela in his heydey.