Known as “The Black President,” Fela Anikulapo Kuti began his career in the early ’60s playing highlife in clubs around West Africa and the UK. In the late ’60s, Fela encountered the American Black Power movement and American funk, both in the body of James Brown. Fela fused highlife and Brown’s hard-living funk to create AFROBEAT and he fused Pan-Africanism and Black Power with his music to become one of the most powerful musicians of all time. See Fela in performance (in the rain) in 1971: shot soon after the Nigerian Civil War by Eric Clapton/Cream drummer and Fela friend Ginger Baker. AFROBEAT’s rhythms are dense and driving, with multiple different rhythms layering upon one another at once to provide both depth and constant motion.
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