When you hear Legends and Afrobeat first thing that comes to mind is “Fela Kuti”, “King Sunny Adé”, “Lagbaja”…
Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti popularly known as “Fela Kuti” is the king and originator of afrobeat. He paved the way for the likes of Wizkid, Burna Boy, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Yemi Alade, to mention a few.
Afrobeat is a mixture of High-Life, Jazz, Fuji, Pidgin-English, and West African language. Afrobeat is dominant in Nigeria, Ghana, and London. The Legends of afrobeat should be really proud of themselves, for this movement brought about quality and serene music.
The music genre was created in the 1960s/1970s by the king himself “Fela Kuti”. We all know Fela was a lover man; 27 wives. How he managed to keep all of them happy amazes me anytime I think of it.
Highlighting three legends that started the movement will only be fair to us afrobeat lovers.
Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti
Fela Kuti was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre and human rights activist. Born into a family of five prestigious humans. He was supposed to be a medical doctor but chose music instead.
One of the best things Fela did for the world before he left is Afrobeat. The tempo, melody, and wordings are apt. Unlike the generation after him, Fela’s music was about the ill Nation and our corrupt leaders. His songs had meaning and purpose.
During his short-lived life, the legend of afrobeat was referred to as ” a Tornado of a man that also loved humanity”. Fela Kuti’s music lives on even in the after-life through his sons.
Fela Kutis’ main instrument was the saxophone and keyboard. He said that they would be no Afrobeat without “Tony Allen”, his drummer at the time. So it is safe to say thank you to Tony Allen for helping forge Afrobeat.
Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye
King Sunny Adé is a Nigerian jùjú singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. His fusion of high-life and jùjú music is everything.
Listening to him perform live was a moment I will forever remember. His charisma, the way he was leading the band, the beat, the melody, everything was present. At that moment, sadness or anger will disappear. LOL
Sunny Adé has made a legacy for him and his band members. He was the first African pop musicians to gain international success. He is the first Nigerian to be a Grammy award nominee, his album Syncro System got him a Grammy Award nomination in the ethnic/traditional folk recording category.
The things Fela Kuti could not achieve King Sunny Adé has checked it off for him.
Lagbaja is a Nigerian Afrobeat musician, singer, and songwriter. If you do not know Lagbaja please go and look him up.
Lagbaja is one of my favorite afrobeat artists.
The name Lagbaja means “Nobody In Particular” in the Yoruba language. In an interview, Lagbaja said that his mask and the name symbolize the faceless, the voiceless in the society, particularly in Africa.
Lagbaja, the talking drum, and saxophone are inseparable. His songs are soul-soothing and is best enjoyed outdoors with beer, palm wine or whatever your poison is.
He won Best Male Video with “Never Far Away” in 2006 during the Channel O Music Video Awards.
In conclusion, there is something about talking drum it just brings out the dancer in you. The legends that started the afrobeat movement had so much meaning to their songs. Right now, the modern-day Afrobeat artists are doing great and most of their songs have nice beats to it but no meaning. If only they could bring back the vibes the Legends imbibed in the entertainment industry.