Fela Kuti Biography – Age, Career, Education, Early Life, Family, Songs, Albums, Awards, And Net Worth
- Let us discuss Fela Kuti’s Biography in terms of his Age, Career, Education, Early Life, Family, Musics And Net Worth and much more.
Fela Kuti was a Nigerian musician and composer who helped to establish the Afrobeat genre (a unique combination of funk, psychedelic rock, jazz, and Yoruba chants). He also rose to prominence as a civil rights activist and political force in Nigeria and beyond, with particularly outspoken views on bureaucratic corruption and the aftereffects of colonialism.
Kuti’s music became increasingly radical as he transitioned to pidgin English to increase his pan-African appeal, heavily influenced by the politics of the ‘Black Panther Party.’ The Nigerian government, which he chastised, did not take well to his catechisms and arrested the singer over 200 times. His family and friends were also repeatedly harassed by the government.
Kuti believed in polygamy and was married to several women at the same time. He had eight children, three of them with his first wife. Kuti’s legacy has only grown stronger after his death, and he continues to be hailed as an African legend.
|Full Name:||Olufela Anikulapo Kuti|
|Stage Name||Fela Kuti|
|Date of Birth:||October 15, 1938|
|Death Date||2 August 1997, Lagos|
|Cause of Death||AIDS-related Illness|
|Place of Birth::||Abeokuta, Ogun, Nigeria|
|State of Origin:||Ogun State, Nigeria|
|Occupation:||Activist, Singer and Songwriter|
|Record Label||Egypt 80|
|Wife/Sponsor:||Kikelomo Oseyni (m. 1978–1986), Sewaa Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Folake Oladejo (m. 1978–1986), Fehintola Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Omolara Shosanya (m. 1978–1986), Aduni Idowu (m. 1978–1986), Shade Shodeinde (m. 1978–1986), Alake Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Adeola Williams (m. 1978–1986), Bose Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Kevwe Oghomienor (m. 1978–1986), Funmi Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Lara Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Suru Eriomola (m. 1978–1986), Ihase Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Najite Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Omolola Osaeti (m. 1978–1986), Emaruagheru Osawe (m. 1978–1986), Tokunbo Akran (m. 1978–1986), Damiregba Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Laide Anikulapo-Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Adejonwo Iyabode Oguntiro (m. 1978–1986), Tejumade Adebiyi (m. 1978–1986), Ronke Edason (m. 1978–1986), Omowunmi Afesumo (m. 1978–1986), Omowunmi Oyedele (m. 1978–1986), Naa Lamiley (m. 1978–1986), Remilekun Taylor (m. 1978–1986)|
Fela Kuti Biography
Olufela Anikulapo Kuti (October 15, 1938 – August 2, 1997), better known as Fela Kuti, is widely regarded as the King of Afrobeats.
Despite his late arrival, his legacy in the African music industry lives on from generation to generation.
He was a music composer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and political activist with Pan-African views during his lifetime.
Fela Kuti, who began as a jazz musician, pioneered Afrobeat by fusing traditional Yoruba percussion with American funk and jazz.
He is the grandfather of Made Kuti, Rolari Segun, and Ayomide Kuti, as well as the father of musicians Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Yeni Kuti, Kunle Anikulapo Kuti, Omosalewa Anikulapo Kuti, Sola Kuti, and Motunrayo Anikulapo Kuti.
Fela Kuti Early Life and Education
On October 15, 1938, Fela Kuti was born to Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti and Chief (Mrs) Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. During colonial rule, he was born in the city of Abeokuta.
He comes from a well-connected upper-middle-class family. His father was a school principal, an Anglican minister, and the first president of the Nigerian Union Of Teachers. His mother was a strong political activist who focused on women’s rights. She is also credited with being the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car.
Fela Kuti‘s older brother was a renowned medical doctor and former minister of health, Chief (Dr) Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, while his younger brother was Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, also a medical doctor. Fela Kuti is the first cousin of Nobel Laurette and writer, Wole Soyinka. Wole Soyinka ‘s mother is the younger sister of Fela Kuti‘s dad, Rev. Ransome-Kuti.
Fela Kuti spent his early years living with his family in Abeokuta before moving to England to pursue a university education. He decided to change his surname from Ransome Kuti to Anikulapo Kuti because he considered the former a slave name.
Fela Kuti finished secondary school at Abeokuta Grammar School. Despite being sent to London to study medicine, he chose to study music instead.
He enrolled at Trinity College of Music, where he discovered a passion for the trumpet and graduated after three years of study.
Fela Kuti Career
While in England, Fela Kuti formed the Koola Lobitos, a band that performed a fusion of jazz and highlife in London clubs.
In 1963, he returned to Nigeria and reformed the Koola Lobitos. In addition, he briefly joined Victor Olaiya’s band before seeking a new creative direction. During this time, he established the Afrobeat genre and renamed his band African 70. Following that, he founded the Kalakuta Republic, which served as a commune, recording studio, and home for the majority of his band members.
Fela Kuti also opened a nightclub in Empire Hotel called Afro-Spot, which he later renamed New Afrika Shrine. Fela Kuti sang in Pidgin English, allowing his music to be understood and appreciated by the multilingual Nigerian community. Pidgin English was widely spoken throughout the country.
In 1977, Fela Kuti and his band released the album Zombie, whose message was directed at the current military government. The album sold thousands of copies and was a commercial success.
Known for creating conscious political music, Fela Kuti was famous all over Africa. He also travelled down to Europe on tours, performing at different shows. One of Fela Kuti‘s music peculiarities is that his songs are very long: 25-30 mins. This is because he uses a lot of instrumentals in his songs, and his music lyrics are known for their call and response feel.
In 1979, Fela Kuti formed a political party, Movement Of The People (MOP) and intended to run for president, but the government prevented him from congestion. By 1980, he decided to create a new band called Egypt 80. He released the album, Beasts Of No Nation in 1989.
Some of Fela Kuti‘s other notable works are Why Black Men Dey Suffer, Live!, Open & Close, Shakara, Roforofo Fight, Gentleman, Expensive Shit, Confusion, Water No Get Enemy, J.J.D (Johnny Just Drop), Sorrows, Tears and Blood, Black President, Original Sufferhead, Unknown Soldier, Army Arrangement, Confusion Breaks Bones, Shuffering and Shmilling, Stalemate and Lady.
A Pan-Africanist, Fela Kuti was imprisoned by the Buhari regime in 1984 because he was a vocal critic of the government. After spending twenty months in jail, he was released when Gen. Ibrahim Babangida came to power. By the 1990s, Fela Kuti had reduced the number of albums he released and no longer went on tours in Europe.
Fela Kuti Major Works
- His album ‘Zombie’ (1977) remains a classic, all the more powerful for the disproportionate state response it solicited.
- The singles ‘Coffin for Head of State’ and ‘Unknown Soldier’ were written in response to his mother’s death at the hands of the military.
- He attacked the ‘ITT Corporation’ and the military again with his iconic single ‘I.T.T. (International Thief Thief).’
- The 1989 album ‘Beasts of No Nation’ was a response to remarks by the erstwhile South African president and has now become a pan-African political landmark.
Fela Kuti Personal Life
Fela Kuti married his first wife, Remilekun Taylor, in 1960, and they had three children: Yeni Kuti, Femi Kuti, and Sola Kuti. His first child and eldest daughter is Yeni Kuti, and his first son is Femi Kuti. Seun Kuti, his youngest son, is in charge of the Egypt 80 Band.
In the 1970s, Fela Kuti made headlines when he married 27 women on the same day. However, he divorced the majority of them before his death.
Fela Kuti died on August 2, 1997, after a lengthy illness. Olikoye Kuti, Fela Kuti’s elder brother, revealed that Fela Kuti died as a result of AIDS-related complications. His immediate family members, however, denied the claim.
In 1977, his home, Kalakuta Republic, was invaded by 1000 soldiers, who burnt and destroyed his properties. He and his band members also suffered physical assault from the soldiers. The attack had responded to his recently released album, Zombie, which the government found offensive.
All Fela Kuti’s wives are Kikelomo Oseyni (m. 1978–1986), Sewaa Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Folake Oladejo (m. 1978–1986), Fehintola Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Omolara Shosanya (m. 1978–1986), Aduni Idowu (m. 1978–1986), Shade Shodeinde (m. 1978–1986), Alake Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Adeola Williams (m. 1978–1986), Bose Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Kevwe Oghomienor (m. 1978–1986), Funmi Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Lara Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986),
Suru Eriomola (m. 1978–1986), Ihase Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Najite Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Omolola Osaeti (m. 1978–1986), Emaruagheru Osawe (m. 1978–1986), Tokunbo Akran (m. 1978–1986), Damiregba Anikulapo Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Laide Anikulapo-Kuti (m. 1978–1986), Adejonwo Iyabode Oguntiro (m. 1978–1986), Tejumade Adebiyi (m. 1978–1986), Ronke Edason (m. 1978–1986), Omowunmi Afesumo (m. 1978–1986), Omowunmi Oyedele (m. 1978–1986), Naa Lamiley (m. 1978–1986), and Remilekun Taylor (m. 1978–1986).
Fela Kuti Net Worth
Fela Kuti amassed his fortune through the sale of his records, music tours, and performances during his lifetime. He led a simple but comfortable existence.
Fela Kuti amassed a small fortune, estimated to be worth between $200,000 and $300,000.
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