Fela Kuti And The Legacy Of Afrobeat

Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti | © Danny PiG / Flickr
Mary Pettas

The musical genre afrobeat originated in the 1960s and 1970s as a blend of traditional Yoruba music with jazz, West African highlife and funk. The pioneering style of afrobeat is identified with the Nigerian artist Fela Kuti, who was renowned for his eccentric character, musical talent and involvement in post-colonial African politics.

Born into a prominent Yoruba family prominet in anti-colonial activistivism, Fela was first ‘seduced by the fertile African jazz scene’ in London, where he was studied medicine in the 1960s. Although he abandoned his studies and returned to Nigeria for a career in music, it wasn’t until almost a decade later that his band started to see success. Their timeless recordings from the 1970s made a significant impact on the Nigerian music scene before gaining popularity around the globe.

He is now considered one of the most influential musicians in the world. His albums The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions, Best of the Black President, Expensive Shit, Live!, Zombie and The Underground Spiritual Game remaining extremely popular.

Political activism was integral to his music

Fela Kuti’s music was inspired by the Black Panther movement, with lyrics that were infused with social and political critique, as well as Nigerian proverbs. These he employed to mock and criticize the military dictatorship in Nigeria of the time. In line with the newly gained independence from colonial rule which was happening across Africa, Fela encouraged his people to regain their self-reliance and self-pride. Another significant attribute of his music is the length of his skilfully crafted and ecstatic songs, some of which last up to 30 minutes on the albums, or even 45 minutes when performed live.

Fela’s son Femi

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article