FELA KUTI

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of two of FELA KUTI’s most beloved recordings, ‘London Scene’ as well as the legendary record he made with Ginger Baker of Cream. 

This Autumn, both albums will be reissued on vinyl via Partisan Records, with ‘London Scene’ coming out on November 5th, and ‘Live! With Ginger Baker’ coming out on November 19th. ‘Live!’ also features audio remastered from the original tapes at Abbey Road Studios.

In addition, a newly unearthed second drum solo from Tony Allen and Ginger Baker taken from Afrika 70’s performance at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival is available to stream now. A separate Allen/Baker drum solo appears on previous versions of ‘Live! With Ginger Baker,’ but this second part has never been heard until now. Listen below:

Ginger Baker + Tony Allen Drum Solo, Part 2 (Live at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival)

1978’s Berlin Jazz Festival marked Afrika 70’s final live performance with Fela. In the Spring of 1979, several members of Afrika 70, including Allen, would leave the band. Allen had been with Fela since 1964. 1980 saw the birth of Egypt 80, with Baritone saxophonist Lekan Animashaun, who had been with Fela since 1965, as its founding bandleader.

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‘Live! With Ginger Baker’

(release date – Nov 19):

FELA KUTI 2

· Reissued with Abbey Road mastered audio

· Limited edition red vinyl

· Gold foil 50th anniversary obi strip, collector’s edition

· 2x LP (2nd LP features a previously unreleased Tony Allen + Ginger Baker drum solo)

· Tracklist:

o SIDE A: “Let’s Start” / “Black Man’s Cry”

o SIDE B: “Ye Ye De Smell” / “Egbe Mi O (Carry Me I Want To Die)”

o SIDE C: Ginger Baker and Tony Allen Drum Solo, Part I (Live at Berlin Jazz Festival, 1978) // Ginger Baker and Tony Allen Drum Solo, Part II (Live at Berlin Jazz Festival, 1978)

o SIDE D: bespoke etching of album artwork

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‘London Scene’

(release date – Nov 5):

FELA 3

· Limited edition blue, red and white coloured splatter vinyl

· Gold foil 50th anniversary obi strip, collector’s edition

· Also available on limited edition green and white vinyl, exclusive to Rough Trade

· Tracklist:

o SIDE A: “J’Ehin-J’Ehin” / “Egbe Mio” / “Who’re You”

o SIDE B: “Buy Africa” / “Fight to Finish”

Earlier this year, Fela was among the nominees for the Rock + Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021, coming behind only Tina Turner in the fan vote. Fela also features prominently in a recent episode of Hulu’s docuseries ‘McCartney 3, 2, 1,’ where Paul McCartney cites Fela as one of his important influences. Fela’s song “Let’s Start” (which appears on ‘Live!’) is also featured in the trailer for the upcoming Netflix movie ‘The Harder They Fall’ (starring Idris Elba, Regina King, and Lakeith Stanfield).

Fela’s legacy spans decades and genres, touching on jazz, pop, funk, hip-hop, rock, and beyond. While he never achieved true icon status during his lifetime, the last (roughly) decade has seen a broad resurgence in his popularity, and a critical reevaluation of his life, music, and influence. In 2008, the biographical musical ‘Fela!’ (co-produced by Jay-Z and Will Smith) became a surprise hit off-Broadway and then Broadway itself. Since then, Beyoncé performed Fela’s “Zombie” at Coachella, he’s been called out as an influence by everyone from Paul McCartney to Questlove, and sampled by Missy Elliott, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Nas, and more. Vice President Kamala Harris even used Fela’s music at her and President Biden’s first joint event together.

This year, Partisan Records (home to Fela’s catalog) launched a scholarship program at the famed Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London (Fela’s alma mater, back when it was known simply as Trinity College of Music). Further details on the scholarship can be found here.

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thom@sonicpr.co.uk