Fela: This Bitch of a Life

Fela: This Bitch of a Life

by Carlos Moore

African superstar, composer, singer, and musician, as well as mystic and political activist, Nigerian Fela Kuti, born in 1938, was controversy personified.

But what was he really like, this man who could as easily arouse violent hostility as he could unswerving loyalty?Carlos Moore's unique biography, based on hours of conversation and told in Fela's first-person vernacular, reveals the icon's complex personality and tumultuous existence.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Music
  • Rating: 3.86
  • Pages: 290
  • Publish Date: May 1st 2009 by Lawrence Hill Books (Chicago Review Press)
  • Isbn10: 1556528353
  • Isbn13: 9781556528354

What People Think about "Fela: This Bitch of a Life"

Fela's lack of restraint and misogynism are appalling I do not know what you would give someone to undergo raping, beating, imprisonment, family ostracism; being labelled prostitutes and drug addicts and still follow suit the figure seems to have reduced to about 15 wives at a later time but surely..even with fifteen how would all of them get the attention they deserved? The way they dealt with dissidents was a testament to misuse of power and that was exactly what Fela Anikulapo Kuti was highlighting as an artist. Fela was hard headed and did not seek exilechoosing to remain in Nigeria. Fela chose to live in a slum and showed recording companies he had his terms. Fela came from a well to do family. I learnt that he was sent to London to do medicine and opted to enroll at Trinity College of Music (Against the grain) The Ransomes were real grit to a smooth surface Felas brothers were both respected doctors: Beko (19402006) helped form Nigerias first human rights organization and in the 1990s was sentenced to life imprisonment at a military tribunal; Koye (19272003) was professor of pediatrics at the University of Lagos and deputy director general of the World Health Organization. After his mothers death Fela decides to go spiritual and then his house breaks down. The man had brothers who were respectable doctors but chose not to do western medicineall the women close to him seem to have gone down with him. Kutis mother was also into books like Chariots of the Gods Fela always seemed late to events and what not.his take (kind of philosophical) How can you say Im late? You say, Fela is late. Time is not the wristwatch, man. Time is the importance of an event, a moment. Time is understanding of what is important. Man must grow old to prove that this is not a world of spirits.

When I came upon his music, a style in which I had never before encountered, I had to learn more.

Fela Kuti has undergone a bit of a resurgence recently with the musical production around his life currently playing in Nigeria having been produced and performed in the US.

Moore's biography doesn't speak much of Fela's music, but rather Fela's life and times, especially his numerous run-ins with Nigeria's military regime. The term "authorized biography" might lead on to expect that sordid and risque details are left out, but Fela was so sexually flamboyant that he insisted Moore cover his relationships with women in depth. A few years before, Fela had infamously married 27 female members of his entourage and he invited Moore to interview the 15 "queens" who now remained with him.

Serendipity allowed Carlos Moore to put together this oral history of Fela in 1982, not long after the death of his mother, while an obsession with spirits and ongoing persecution pulled apart his extraordinarily fertile musical world. And this book really is Fela warts and all. I be Africa man original Here was a child of privilege turning his back on that privilege and yet becoming a more indelible figure than anyone in his family. The run of great albums in the 1970s is extraordinary: Shakara, Gentleman, He Miss Road, Expensive Shit, Zombie, Confusion, No Agreement So many albums, so many wives, so many fans, so many arguments against the corrupt military leaders; he micromanaged it all, even in the face of frontal assault, until he couldn't keep it going any more and paranoia joined superstition.

A glimpse into FELA's life but no real depth despite the sense of familiarity you get.

After living in New York for several years and completing High School, Moore returned to Cuba to work for the Cuban government as a translator for the ministries of Communications and External Affairs. In order to escape Cuba, Moore traveled to Egypt on a cargo ship, where he remained for a year before fleeing the repressive regime there. Moore then traveled to Europe and was denied exile in Italy and Switzerland before being allowed to stay in France on the condition that he arranged repatriation to Cuba. After years of struggle and harassment by the French secret police Moore is granted asylum and began working as a free lance journalist for Agence France Presse. 1975-1991 In 1975 Moore fled Nigeria and settled in Senegal until 1980.