Screening: The Fela Kuti Story (Music is a Weapon 1982)Date: Saturday 15 March 2008
Venue: BFI Southbank (near Royal Festival Hall) Belvedere Road SE1 (Tube: Waterloo)
Adm: £5.00 Box office 0207 928 3232
Singer-composer, musician and politician. Kuti is one of Africa’s most revered names.He began as a highlife singer in 1954. In 1968 he created Afro-beat, and then went on a 10-month tour of America. He devoured Malcolm X’s autobiography, fell in love with the Black Panthers and began writing conscious lyrics . On return to Nigeria he opened the Shrine nightclub. He accused the Beatles of stealing black peoples music and rejected his English last name. He influenced James Brown, Bootsy Collins and Gilberto Gil, His outspoken views on corruption and colonialism made him unpopular with the government but a hero to the people. In 1979 Kuti began his own political party – MOP (Movement of the People). However the military returned to power in 1983 and within the year Kuti was sentenced to five years imprisonment. The Army even raided his compound, threw his mother out of the window and raped his wives. When he died in 1997 millions turned out to honour him. This is his story.
PLUS Q and A with Ayorinde Solarin, writer and childhood friend of Fela. Ayo Solarin will discuss his experience of Fela Kuti and place Fela’s work in a wider context of African culture and history.