Today, Partisan Records announce ‘Box Set #6’, the latest instalment in an ongoing series of expansive box set reissues of the beloved back catalog of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.
Following on from previous editions curated by the likes of Chris Martin, Erykah Badu, Ginger Baker, Brian Eno and Questlove, the latest box set in the series comes compiled by actor, producer, DJ, rapper and singer Idris Elba, aka Big Driis, and features the classic records ‘Open & Close’ (1972), ‘Music of Many Colours’ (1980), ‘Stalemate’ (1977), ‘I Go Shout Plenty!!!’ (1977), ‘Live in Amsterdam’ (1983) and ‘Opposite People’ (1977).
Limited to 5000 copies, the set features artwork for each album meticulously recreated from the original vinyl pressings – alongside vintage vinyl label artwork – as well as 24-page booklet featuring lyrics, commentaries on each record by noted Afrobeat historian Chris May, never-before-seen photos and an introduction from Elba. All sets come accompanied by a special 16″ x 24″ poster designed by Lemi Ghariokwu, the creative force behind many of Fela’s seminal album covers.
Accompanying today’s news of ‘Box Set #6”s imminent arrival is the digital release of “Stalemate (Edit)”, drawn from the A-side of the 1977 record of the same name, included as part of the collection. On the track, using a combination of Broken English and Yoruba, Fela muses briefly on the face-off between Nigeria’s military regime and the social groups who made up the bulk of his audience: students, intellectuals and sufferheads (as he called the urban working class), over one of the more laid-back grooves in his entire catalog.
Today also marks the release of a new documentary short entitled ‘Fela Kuti: The Legacy,’ directed by Kayode Thomas. The film is available now via Fela’s official YouTube and offers an engrossing and educational introduction to the life and work of the legendary singer and activist. ‘Fela Kuti: The Legacy’ sheds light on Fela’s influence on fashion, style, and culture as well as his message and activism, which are still important today. It also examines the significance of the Shrine, the iconic music venue where Fela performed. Watch from 7pm tonight here: https://youtu.be/06OJoy3zDH0
Fela Kuti (1938-1997) was a Nigerian musician, producer, arranger, political radical, outlaw and the originator of Afrobeat. A titanic musical and sociopolitical voice, Fela’s legacy spans decades and genres, touching on jazz, pop, funk, hip-hop, rock and beyond.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 influencer 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.
FELA KUTI – ‘BOX SET #6’
CURATED BY IDRIS ELBA
OUT 1 DECEMBER ON PARTISAN RECORDS
+ LISTEN TO: “STALEMATE (EDIT)”
‘Box Set #6’ tracklisting:
Open & Close:
A1) Open & Close
B1) Swegbe & Pako
B2) Gbagada Gbagada Gbogodo Gbogodo
Music of Many Colors (Feat. Roy Ayers):
A1) 2000 Blacks Got to be Free
B1) Africa Centre of the World
B1) Don’t Worry About My Mouth O (African Message)
I Go Shout Plenty!!!:
A1) I Go Shout Plenty!!!
B1) Why Black Men Dey Suffer?
Live In Amsterdam:
A1) M.O.P. (Movement of the People) Political Statement Number 1 (Part 1)
B1) M.O.P. (Movement of the People) Political Statement Number 1 (Part 2)
C1) Custom Check Point
C2) You Gimme S**t I Give You S**t (Part 1)
D1) You Gimme S**t I Give You S**t (Part 2)
A1) O.P. (Opposite People)
B1) Equalisation of Trouser and Pant
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