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CD7,99 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1971 | Knitting Factory Records

Originally released in 1971, this LP had Fela Kuti solidifying the format that would take him into international visibility in the years to come: extended tracks with grooves that mixed African and funk rhythms, punctuated by rudimentary lyrics. There are just four songs on the album, none shorter than seven minutes, and all but one going over the ten-minute mark. More than a dozen strong, his band, the Africa '70, cooks pretty well on tracks that fuse jazz, soul, and African music in a trancelike fashion that avoids becoming stale, despite the length of the arrangements. Ex-Cream/Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker's name was given prominence in the billing, probably to attract rock- and pop-oriented listeners who might not ordinarily take a chance on music from the African continent. However, it's Fela and Africa '70, not Baker, who are the dominant presence on a record that sounds much like a mixture of James Brown, fusion, and Nigerian forms. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1977 | Knitting Factory Records

Zombie was the most popular and impacting record that Fela Kuti & Africa 70 would record -- it ignited the nation to follow Fela's lead and antagonize the military zombies that had the population by the throat. Fela is direct and humorous in his attack as he barks out commands to the soldiers like: "Attention! Double up! Fall In! Fall out! Fall down! Get ready!" Meanwhile, his choir responds with "Zombie!" in between each statement. Since the groove was so absolutely contagious, it took the nation by storm: People in the street would put on a blank stare and walk with hands affront proclaiming "Zombie!" whenever they would see soldiers. If "Zombie" caught the attention of the populous it also cought the attention of the authority figures -- this would cause devastating personal and professional effects as the Nigerian government came down on him with absolute brute force not long after the release of this record. Also included are "Monkey Banana," a laid-back groove that showcases drummer Tony Allen's mastery of the Afro-beat, and "Everything Scatter," a standard mid-tempo romp. Both songs are forgetful in relation to "Zombie," but this is still an essential disc to own for the title track alone. © Sam Samuelson /TiVo
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1973 | Knitting Factory Records

Auszeichnungen Qobuz' Schallplattensammlung
Gentleman is both an Africa 70 and Afro-beat masterpiece. High marks go to the scathing commentary that Fela Anikulapo Kuti lets loose but also to the instrumentation and the overall arrangements, as they prove to be some of the most interesting and innovative of Fela's '70s material. When the great tenor saxophone player Igo Chico left the Africa 70 organization in 1973, Fela Kuti declared he would be the replacement. So in addition to bandleader, soothsayer, and organ player, Fela picked up the horn and learned to play it quite quickly -- even developing a certain personal voice with it. To show off that fact, "Gentleman" gets rolling with a loose improvisatory solo saxophone performance that Tony Allen eventually pats along with before the entire band drops in with classic Afro-beat magnificence. "Gentleman" is also a great example of Fela's directed wit at the post-colonial West African sociopolitical state of affairs. His focus is on the Africans that still had a colonial mentality after the Brits were gone and then parallels that life with his own. He wonders why his fellow Africans would wear so much clothing in the African heat: "I know what to wear but my friend don't know" and also points out that "I am not a gentleman like that!/I be Africa man original." To support "Gentleman," the B-side features equally hot jazzy numbers, "Fefe Naa Efe" and "Igbe," making this an absolute must-have release. [In 2000, MCA released Confusion and Gentleman as a two-fer.] © Sam Samuelson /TiVo
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1987 | Knitting Factory Records

With production help from Wally Badarou, Fela Anikulapo Kuti offers up an interesting mix of songs (well, two to be exact) in both vocal and instrumental versions. Most compelling is the track "Look and Laugh," which details the attack by Nigerian soldiers on his Kalakuta compound. With simple lyrics, Fela runs down the horror of that attack in a detached, almost journalistic manner: "Till dem come/burn my house/burn my house/all my property/burn burn dem/beat beat me/kill my mama." Badarou's production help gives Fela his most full-bodied sound; the horn section is much hotter and brassier than ever before. The problem with this record is that with following an instrumental track with a vocal version of the same song, there's a certain lack of drama that blunts the impact of songs as powerful as "Look and Laugh." That said, this is very good mid-'80s Fela. The 2001 reissue on MCA adds a 22-minute bonus track, "Just Like That," which was originally released on 1989's Beast of No Nation album. © John Dougan /TiVo
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CD7,99 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1972 | Knitting Factory Records

Auszeichnungen Qobuz' Schallplattensammlung
The four (lengthy, as usual) songs occupying this album were originally recorded in Nigeria as 45 rpm releases. Afrodisiac consists of re-recordings of these, done in London in the early '70s. While it's true that Fela Kuti's albums from this period are pretty similar to each other, in their favor they're not boring. These four workouts, all sung in Nigerian, are propulsive mixtures of funk and African music, avoiding the homogeneity of a lot of funk and African records of later vintage, done with nonstop high energy. The interplay between horns, electric keyboards, drums, and Kuti's exuberant vocals gives this a jazz character without sacrificing the earthiness that makes it danceable as well. "Jeun Ko Ku (Chop'n Quench)" became Kuti's first big hit in Nigeria, selling 200,000 copies in its first six months in its initial version. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1977 | Knitting Factory Records

Pioneering musician, activist, and bandleader Fela Kuti is the first word in Afro-beat, making such strides in the genre over the course of his career that his contributions are foundational and nothing less than legendary. Released in 1977, Opposite People finds Fela and his band Afrika 70 riding a fever-pitched groove for the customary two side-long extended jams that made up most of Fela's classic output. The title track builds for 11 or more minutes before Kuti comes in with a sociopolitical lecture in sung-scatted form, and second cut "Equalisation of Trouser and Pant" is a slinkier affair, with hints of greasy rock guitar and wandering electronic keyboard tones. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1975 | Knitting Factory Records

Auszeichnungen Qobuz' Schallplattensammlung
Fela Kuti's 1975 Confusion shows him and Africa 70 at the heights of instrumental prowess and ambiguous jibes (the stabs are about to get a bit more direct and heated with 1977's Zombie). "Confusion" begins with an unusual free jazz interplay between Fela on organ and drummer Tony Allen that has the presence of 2001: A Space Odyssey in its omnipresent drama. Then the group falls into a lengthily mid-tempo Afro funk that plays with a sureness that only comes from skilled musicians and a dictator-like leader; here is the formula that had made Fela a genius: Once he has the listener (or the crowd -- as all of his songs were originally meant to entertain and educate his audiences at the Shrine) entranced in his complex (and at the same time, deceptively simple) arrangements of danceable grooves, he hits them with what he wants to say. "Confusion" is a comment on the general condition of urban Nigeria (Lagos, in particular). Fela uses traffic jams, no fewer than three dialects, and a multitude of currencies that make trading difficult to complete the allusion to the general post-colonial confusion of a Nigeria lacking in infrastructure and proper leadership. Confusion is a highly recommended 25-minute Afro-beat epic. [In 2000, MCA released Confusion and Gentleman as a two-fer.] © Sam Samuelson /TiVo
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CD7,99 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1977 | Knitting Factory Records

Recorded in 1977, No Agreement follows the Afro-beat template to a masterful level: amazingly catchy guitar lines that replicate a bass guitar in their construction, a second guitarist to add some JB's funk power, driving horn section proclamations, intricate saxophone, trumpet and organ improv solos, and then Fela Anikulopo Kuti's wit and message for the people. Even though Fela had vowed to speak his mind, he turns in a song where he proclaims to keep his mouth shut if it means that he will harm his brothers and sisters in the population (not that he actually does, as some of his most scathing songs have yet to come). "No Agreement" is decidedly some of the most interesting instrumentation that he had turned in. With help from Art Ensemble of Chicago trumpeter extradordinare Lester Bowie (Bowie turned in a tenure of about a year with Fela), the solos are magically inspired and the rhythm section rolls on with the power of a steamroller. "Dog Days," the instrumental B-side, sounds more like "No Agreement" part two; it does, however, carry its own weight -- again with the help from Bowie. [In 2000, MCA released No Agreement with Shuffering and Shmiling as a two-fer.] © Sam Samuelson /TiVo
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1972 | Knitting Factory Records

Auszeichnungen Qobuz' Schallplattensammlung
Mit dem Album Shakara befindet sich Fela Kuti an einem entscheidenden Punkt seiner Karriere. Wir sind im Jahr 1972: Er hat gerade seinen ersten kontinentalen Erfolg mit Chop 'n' Quench, erlebt, den Namen seiner Gruppe Nigeria 70 in Africa 70 umgewandelt, laut Legende innerhalb von 24 Stunden Saxophon erlernt sowie das englisch-kreolische Pidgin als Schriftsprache übernommen, um damit ein größeres Publikum zu erreichen. Er hat auch gerade den Empire Hotel Club in Lagos in Besitz genommen, der in African Shrine umbenannt wurde - ein afrikanischer Tempel, in dem er jeden Abend mit seiner Band und seinen unzähligen Tänzern legendäre Konzerte gibt. Alle Elemente von Erfolg und Legende sind dabei vereint. Und das Album Shakara, mit seinem Titelsong und dem berühmten Lady, markiert stolz den Beginn dieser glorreichen Ära für diesen unheimlichsten und angesehensten afrikanischen Musiker. Die beiden epischen Tracks erstrecken sich jeweils über gut 13 Minuten. Fela, deren Spiel auf der Rhodes-Orgel an das von Ray Manzarek von The Doors erinnert, treibt die Dramaturgie voran, und Tony Allen prägt den Afrobeat-spezifischen Rhythmus und dirigiert die Musiker. Die Gitarren halten den Druck aufrecht, die Bläser nehmen den Angriff wie Krieger auf. Felas Gesang, auf den die Frauenchöre antworten, verursacht auch heute noch ein Erdbeben, das nicht aufzuhalten ist.Was auch immer man davon hält, der musikalische Diskurs ist unaufhaltsam und bildet die Essenz eines immer in Aktion befindlichen historischen Genres. So gut seine Nachkommen und mehrere Erben auch sein mögen, Afrobeat wird nie so deutlich durchdringen wie durch die Stimme seines Meisters: Fela Anikulapo Kuti. © Benjamin MiNiMuM/Qobuz
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1971 | Knitting Factory Records

Another long-thought-lost gem from the Fela Anikulapo Kuti archives, Open & Close was originally released in 1971 and, in the manner of He Miss Road and Fela's London Scene, is a total groove-fest loaded to the gills with raucous horn blowing, ferocious percussion (once again, Tony Allen take a bow), and song lengths over ten minutes. By this point, Fela could do no wrong when it came to recording; Afro-beat dissenters will claim that there is a trance-inducing similarity to much of Fela's '70s recorded output, that the grooves aren't enough to make the songs distinctive enough on their own. That's true of some of his later recordings (like in the mid- to late '80s), but at this point he was still breathing fire and the band was in top form. Perhaps the distinguishing factors of records like Open & Close and some of Fela's other '70s releases are that as much as he liked to ride a groove, he also liked to disrupt it, twist it and turn it, reshape it, only to bring it back to its original shape. There was less of that later in his career. © John Dougan /TiVo
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CD1,49 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1989 | Knitting Factory Records

After helping Fela Anikulapo Kuti with Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense, Wally Badarou was back in the producer's chair for this effort, which was political in the extreme. That is to say, Kuti was in an extremely confrontational mood. The cover pictures former South African president P.W. Botha, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan as horned vampires with blood dripping from their mouths. The music is more of the same, the grooves are typically sinuous, but the lyrics are venom-filled with Kuti referring to the aforementioned trio as "Animals wan dash our human rights." After a few so-so records in the early '80s, Beasts of No Nation was a strong (at times stunning) return to form for Kuti and signaled that his political beliefs kept him from becoming musically lazy. © John Dougan /TiVo
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1976 | Knitting Factory Records

Upside Down, released in 1976, is one of the more unusual items in Fela Kuti's discography from the period. Not structurally -- it's the usual two-song, half-hour deal, the songs beginning with several minutes of instrumental solo trades before the socially conscious lyrics enter. The song "Upside Down" itself, however, is sung not by Kuti but by Sandra Akanke Isidore. She was a woman that he met during his stay in the United States at the end of the 1960s, and who is credited with helping to elevate his own social awareness and ethnic identity. It's basically like hearing a track by this artist with a different vocalist, then. Although Isidore's pipes aren't as strong as Kuti's, it makes for something refreshingly different in the midst of all those similar two-song releases from the mid-'70s. The other track, "Go Slow," is a little jazzier, and puts less emphasis on lyrics than most Kuti tracks, with the singing largely limited to chants that punctuate the instrumental arrangement. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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CD5,99 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 28. Januar 2021 | Knitting Factory Records

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CD1,49 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 20. März 2020 | Knitting Factory Records

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CD7,99 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1994 | Knitting Factory Records

Recorded in 1969 under duress courtesy of the Department of Immigration and Naturalization, the Los Angeles Sessions are among the earliest glimpse of Fela Anikulapo Kuti's developing Afrobeat sound. What makes this release different from much of his recorded work is the length and number of songs: ten tracks, average length 4:39. Unusual, since most Fela material is 15 minutes or more. The foundation of this music is still the classic highlife sound, but there are influences here that bespeak Fela's absorption with funk and soul. In fact, the opening track, "My Lady Frustration," sounds so much like James Brown, you'd swear it was Jimmy Nolen playing guitar and Clyde Stubblefield on the drums. A good intro for Fela neophytes, but by no means the only Fela recording you should own. Also, tracks like "Nigeria" show how important radical politics were in informing his sound. © John Dougan /TiVo
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CD11,49 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 9. September 2014 | Knitting Factory Records

Finding Fela, the documentary by director Alex Gibney, is a compelling film that was originally intended to portray the cast of the Bill T. Jones musical Fela! during rehearsals and performances in Lagos, Nigeria; it's the first Broadway musical ever staged there. While capturing hundreds of hours of footage with a local film crew about the production and its reception by a Lagos audience, questions naturally arose about the wild life and times of the musical's subject, Fela Kuti himself. Gibney shot interviews with musicians -- those who played with him and those who were admirers -- and family, friends, and acquaintances, and wove them in with performance footage of Kuti's bands. This double-disc soundtrack is not so much a best-of, but it does contain significant music from throughout Kuti's career, from his highlife and R&B sides, to his full-on experiments that wed funk, jazz, and African rhythms in a completely integrative sound that became his invention: Afrobeat. Disc one includes "Highlife Time," cut by his first band Koola Lobitos in Los Angeles between 1964 and 1968. "Viva Nigeria" and "Lover" are from those same sessions but the bands are different -- these are the earliest recordings by Nigeria 70 and Africa 70. "Jeun Ko Ku (Chop and Quench)" was Kuti's first real hit in 1973, selling 200,000 copies in its first six months. Edited versions of "Johnny Just Drop" and "Upside Down," as well as the full-length "Egbe Mi O" (from a live date that featured Ginger Baker) are here, along with the self-titled second part (half the album) of Africa 70's "VIP." The second disc carries mostly edits from some of Africa 70's and Africa 80's best-known tunes, though some of these -- "Teacher Don't Teach Me No Nonsense," "Beasts of No Nation," and "Shuffering and "Shmiling" -- are over 12 minutes long. The two outliers -- "Zombie" and "Colonial Mentality" -- are excellent readings by the musical's Fela! Band. The latter features Femi Kuti leading the group in a blistering extended version, live at the Kuti family's New Afrika Shrine. The fact that the show band covers two tunes here does not detract from the recording's significance. As a soundtrack it works wonderfully. As a musical introduction its lack of source documentation is bit of a drawback, but that's a small complaint. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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CD7,99 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1975 | Knitting Factory Records

He Miss Road was produced by none other than Ginger Baker, who was a semi-regular jamming partner of Fela Kuti's as well as a close friend. And the tunes Fela wrote for this platter are wild, cosmic, sexy as hell, and deeply saturated in funk à la James Brown. The B-3 solo at the beginning of the title track is simply a device for inviting the band in. The B-3 is way up in the mix, supercharged. The echo effects Baker used on the organ and the horns add a nice touch and create a different textural quality, one that is spacious, to be sure, but still rooted in the shamanic repetition as the riff goes on forever no matter what instruments enter or leave the mix. The vocals show up midway through as everything gets tense and explodes. "Monday Morning in Lagos" is deep, dark, swirling Afro-funk. It's moody, spooky, and its organ line just stitches the whole groove together. The final cut, "It's No Promise," is pure Nigerian trance music. The longest track here, it's also the most abstract. It's held together by Tony Allen's drumming and the popping bassline by Franco Aboddy. This is one of Fela's cookers, an album from his most creative period, and it reigns among the best in his extensive catalog. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1975 | Knitting Factory Records

With two tracks of about a dozen minutes each, Monkey Banana was really more an extended single than a proper album, reflecting a time during which Kuti's music was moving even more into long extended grooves. Both of the two cuts, "Monkey Banana" and "Sense Wiseness," have his characteristic blends of improvisational-sounding trades between various instruments and lead and chanting backup vocals, along with his minor-based melodies. "Monkey Banana" reflects his social consciousness in deploring the poor conditions of workers' lives in Nigeria. "Sense Wiseness" has a funkier beat and prominent high, glistening electric keyboards, the backdrop for lyrics criticizing the educated segment of Africa's population for absorbing Western ways. . © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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CD7,99 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1992 | Knitting Factory Records

Underground System was among the better recordings of Fela's late career, comprised of two extended tracks, the title cut and "Pansa Pansa." "Underground System" starts off with rhythms that are far faster and more urgent than those on most of Fela's characteristically lengthy tracks. If that sounds like a marginal quality upon which to judge a song as a standout, well, something like a much faster and played-as-though-we-mean-it tempo really does help to differentiate it from the singer's generally similar output of the 1980s and 1990s. The backup singers also come in quickly with infectious chants, prior to a typical Fela lyric observing the difficulty in enacting positive political change in Africa. Hearing them sing in tandem with Fela instead of doing call-response patterns, as they do during much of the 28-minute cut, also makes for a refreshing variation. "Pansa Pansa," at a mere (for Fela) 17 minutes, also gets your attention more than his average effort, with rapid propulsive beats and sprinkles of slightly dissonant jazzy piano. The 2001 CD reissue on MCA adds a half-hour song from his 1990 album, ODOO, which is considerably slower and moodier than the prior two tunes, the beginning emphasizing mournful electric keyboards and sax soloing. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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CD7,99 Fr.

Aus aller Welt - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1977 | Knitting Factory Records