Fela Kuti Alagbon Close on LP
Almost two decades after his death, vindication has come to Fela Kuti, Africa's musical genius. AfroBeat, his gift to the world, is now an international staple on his own uncompromising terms, social content intact. Throughout his life, Fela contended that AfroBeat was a modern form of danceable, African classical music with an urgent message for the planet's denizens. Created out of a cross-breeding of Funk, Jazz, Salsa and Calypso with Juju, Highlife and African percussive patterns, it was to him a political weapon.
Alagbon Close, originally released on the independent Jofabro label in 1974, marks the first full flowering of Afrobeat, as a music and as a principled political philosophy. Instrumentally, the album brings together the several signature elements of Fela's Afrobeat, which had not previously been molded into such a unified, finely-balanced form on record.
Lyrically, it is a full-on confrontation with an enforcing power of the Nigerian state: Alagbon Close in Lagos was the headquarters of the Nigerian Criminal Investigation Department. Many of the musical elements which make Alagbon Close so compelling can be heard on earlier recordings, but on this album, Fela pulled them all together to devastating effect, in the process creating the classic Afrobeat paradigm.