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Fela Kuti Upside Down

(Vinyl LP)

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Item: LDK05913

Fela Kuti's rich discography stretches from the mid 1960s with Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers, to the early 1990s with Egypt 80, and there are masterpieces all along the way. But the 1970s, with Africa 70 and then Afrika 70, was the decade during which Fela's Afrobeat went through its most dramatic changes – musically and politically. It begins with 1971's Shakara and ends with 1980's I.T.T. (International Thief Thief). It also includes London Scene (1972), Afrodisiac and Gentleman (both 1973) and Upside Down (1976). The penultimate selection is 1976's Zombie, which was a huge hit in Nigeria.

Upside Down and Zombie, both released in 1976, were made at the mid-point of an extraordinary three-year period during which Fela recorded 24 albums of new material. Upside Down - meaning back home in Africa everything is totally disorganized - is unusual in that it includes a second lead vocalist, Fela's American friend Sandra Izsadore, who he'd known since touring the US in 1969. Izsadore, a black rights activist, introduced him to the writings of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton and other revolutionary thinkers."Go Slow" was one of several songs Fela recorded which critiqued the consequences of over-rapid urbanization – in this case, traffic jams - using them as a metaphor to describe deeper social breakdowns.

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