Zombie album cover

Fela Kuti and Afrika 70


More than most artists, the discography of Fela Anikulapo Kuti reflects his own personal and political life and times. As an artist-activist, he was already a severe thorn in the side of Nigerian heads of state when he cut Zombie (consisting only of “Zombie” and “Mister Follow Follow,” both topping 12 minutes), a searing condemnation of the country’s military. His lyrical metaphors about the soldiers’ mindlessness, laid atop an infectious Afrobeat blend of Ghanaian highlife and hard bop from his Afrika 70 backing band, ignited a deadly response. Soldiers brutalized Fela, razing his commune and throwing his mother from a second-story window.

Miles Marshall Lewis

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