Fela Kuti was a legend, a luminary, a dissident, a mystic, a Pan-Africanist and an activist. He pioneered the sound and the spirit of Afrobeat, a style of music that blended jazz and funk with provocative political lyrics and traditional African rhythms.
Fela’s irresistable music – and his often scathing lyrics, sung in Nigerian pidgin and Yoruba – made him a hero of the poor and a thorn in the side of successive Nigerian governments, who sought and failed to suppress him all his life.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Fela Kuti’s death. Hosted by PBS presenter Stani Goma, this discussion includes Lagos-based Lemi Ghariokwu, the designer of Fela’s most famous album covers, musician Zvi Belling, and multi-disciplinary artist Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe. Join them as they discuss the life and complex legacy of this exceptional artist and activist.
This event will be Auslan interpreted.
Stani Goma is the presenter and producer of Flight 1067 to Africa on PBS FM every Sunday between 3pm–5pm. The programme features music from all over Africa, and takes the listener on a musical journey around the African continent to discover the rich and diverse sound of Africa.
Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe is a Rwandan-British composer and multidisciplinary artist. Through her viewpoint as a synaesthetic ‘third-culture kid’, her research-based arts practice focusses on into the composition and archiving of culture within the framework of transcription through artistry.
Stéphanie artistically expresses her ongoing research findings in graphic music scores and textiles, narrative and performance ceremony, and cultural contextualisation through public cross-generational conversations.
Zvi Belling is the founder, director and bass player for the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Melbourne's premier Afrobeat ambassadors. He also works as a composer and arranger for South African jazz outfit The Royal Swazi Spa, and the live hip-hop project ZEDSIX. He has performed around the globe with music legends such as Gregory Porter, Johnny Clegg, Chet Faker, Femi Kuti, Hugh Masekela and Egypt 80, to name just a few.
Lemi Ghariokwu, is a self-taught Nigerian visual artist, graphic designer, illustrator and songwriter. He is most renowned for many of his original cover art for Nigerian music legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His work involves a variety of styles, often using vibrant colours and individuated typefaces of his own design. This serves a consciously integrated meta-textual function. One would say his art is rebellion, comical, political, even erotic, but most of all he is a genius in pictorial narration. Observer Music Magazine called him 'King of Covers' in 2004.