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Honour for Fela at Felabration UK 2019

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Fela Anikulapo-Kuti At Orchestra Hall, Detroit 1986


There is no doubt, Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s music and influence have travelled the global music landscape. Its explosion and rise in the United Kingdom is arguably the biggest musical breakthrough in decades, which has also been responsible for the preservation of the African culture through music, fashion and arts in recent years.

Hence, the UK will on August 30, celebrate the late afrobeat legend and host some of the biggest names in afrobeat, afropop and afrosoul, who will incorporate and showcase Fela’s music, his charisma and razzmatazz on the big stage at Indigo O2, London.

The event, according to the organisers, will foster unity and greatness, whilst also offering a show stopping experience from psychedelic stage performances, décor recreating the ambiance of The Shrine, on-screen visuals to cultural dances and the best line up in the afrobeat genre.

It will be recalled that Felabration, an annual music festival that celebrates the life and legacy of afrobeat pioneer and human rights activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, wqas conceived in 1998 by Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, the eldest child and daughter of the late afrobeat maestro. This year’s Felabration UK is spearheaded by Shalewa Kuti, another daughter of the late Abami Eda (weird one), and supported by DLA World.

Commenting on the rationale for the UK event in a statement, the organisers stated that with music being an integral aspect of African culture, Felabration is one of the longest standing, most attended and groundbreaking music festivals in Nigeria, staging over 150 of the best African artistes in a one-week extravaganza at the New Afrika Shrine, Lagos.

“Fela’s music and influence have travelled the global music landscape. Its explosion and rise in the UK is arguably the biggest musical breakthrough in decades, which has also been responsible for the preservation of the African culture through music, fashion and arts in recent years,” the statement read.

In 2017, which marked 20 years since the demise of the afrobeat legend, Felabration was for the first time incorporated into the historic Notting Hill Carnival, an annual event that has taken place in London since 1966 on the streets of Notting Hill, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Organised in conjunction with the Lagos State Government, the appearance of the two sons of the late afrobeat icon, Femi and Seun, with their bands — The Positive Force and Egypt 80, was regarded as a major attraction at the event, even beyond the Felabration Park at the carnival. Hence, it became the first time the over two decades old music project was showcased at the London Carnival.

Despite the success of the Felabration float at the carnival, fans of the late Afrobeat maestro who had trooped out in large numbers to enjoy musical performances by Femi Kuti and his brother Seun, as well as other Afrobeat bands were left disappointed, as the highly anticipated music concert, which was planned as part of the activities for the Notting Hill Carnival, was stopped by UK authorities because organisers didn’t obtain required permits.


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