Travel Music Buzz – Shakara by Fela Kuti
Miles Davis. James Brown. John Coltrane. Fela Kuti.
The last name may not enter many of our minds when listing influential jazz musicians. But Fela Kuti’s influence on jazz and funk is undeniable, and his name is one that we should all be familiar with.
His political views may have been controversial at times, but Kuti’s grooves are always hypnotic and irresistible. Shakara is typical of this dynamic between the multi-instrumentalist’s eclectic personality and musical genius. There are only two tracks on the album, and they are pure Fela Kuti.
Track one, “Lady,” might strike a nerve with some as Fela stumps about his views on the westernization of women in Africa. Track two, “Shakara (Oloje),” is sung in both Yoruba and English and makes fun of the corruption and broken promises that infected the political scene that surrounded Kuti during his time in Nigeria.
His political views and associations may have made him a controversial figure, but his music made him a legend. Fela Kuti is credited as the founder of Afrobeat jazz and Shakara is a shining example of his innovation. Like many other legendary jazz artists, his music was his outlet and the product was his way of pushing the envelope and standing up for what he believed in.
Take a listen to Shakara and hear the legend for yourself.