Fela Kuti: Upside Down / Music of Many Colours

Fela Kuti
Upside Down / Music of Many Colours
(Knitting Factory Records)

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Upside Down features Sandra Isidore, the American woman who introduced Fela to many of the defining Pan-African Pro-Black ideologies that he came to live by. The song features a long groove emphasizing Fela’s signature dueling, interlocking guitar parts and Tony Allen’s signature syncopated drum beat.

Music of Many Colours is a collaboration between Roy Ayers and Fela. “2,000 Blacks Got To Be Free” is an 80’s-sounding track that features a drum machine, and Roy Ayers’ vibraphone. Ayers sings the Pan-African message, “Think about unity, think about positive vibes, think about Africa.”

“Africa, Center Of the World” is the B-Side where Fela is the lead arranger and composer and Ayers plays the complimentary role. It’s an Afrocentric sound that’s characteristic of much of Fela’s later music–slower, downtempo grooves with intricate arrangements.

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