Rage Against the Nigerian Machine

September 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

There was a moment of silence held in his memory at the Crossroads Nightclub in Maryland, I remember, on the day it was announced that Fela had passed away. I remembered all I had heard about his struggles with the Nigerian Government, his imprisonment, the music, and of course, the revolutionary lyrics.

Zombie Album Cover

His song “Zombie” (1976) makes a mockery of the Nigerian military and police. Fela’s volatile relationship with the Nigerian authorities came to a head in 1977 when his Kalakuta Republic was stormed by soldiers and burned to the ground. Fela’s mother was thrown from a window by soldiers and she went into coma from which she never recovered, dying about eight weeks later. (His song “Sorrow, Tears and Blood” is about that horrendous experience.) Many thought the music he pioneered – Afrobeat – would fade out. Well, Afrobeat lovers, rejoice! Brand new reissues of Fela’s music have been released this past week by Knitting Factory Records. They have announced a Digital Package with immediate downloads of 11 of his releases between 1976 and 1980. Called the Zombie Batch, it is the third reissue so far of their periodic releases of the Nigerian musician’s work. I found this out on Boing Boing, (with Alt Sounds and Lime Wire Blog also reporting it) and the blog includes a free download of the classic Fela hit after which the reissue is named – Zombie. You can check out the Fela page on Knitting Factory Records here to buy the digital downloads. There is also a CD + Digital Download Package, and a Deluxe Package. Titles on the set include the aforementioned “Zombie,” “Sorrow Tears and Blood,” “Music of Many Colors” (with Roy Ayers), and “Shuffering and Shmiling.” The next group of reissues are scheduled for later this year. Bless…

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