Fela & Roy Ayers - Music of Many Colours (1980)

by Fela Kuti

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2000 Blacks Got To Be Free: Is a musical collaboration between the African American vibraphone player Roy Ayers and Fela. After a three week tour of Nigeria’s major cities in 1979, where he performed as the opening act for Fela’s band, the two artists decided to do a joint album as a round-up to the tour. The result, an album titled: ‘MUSIC OF MANYCOLOURS’. On the A side Fela’s Africa Centre of the World, and on the B Side Roy Ayers: 2000 Blacks Got To Be Free. In this song Roy says he has, like many other black men, a vision coupled with a dream that says: ‘…by the year 2000 comes around, Africa would be united and free’. He hopes, or better he knows that everybody in Africa and the Diaspora will be knowledgeable about Africa. That by the time year 2000 rolls around, we will all have our minds together—2000 Black Got To Be Free is the message from Roy Ayers, that black people should unite by the time year 2000 comes.

Africa Centre Of The World: Africa Centre Of The World is Fela’s contribution to the joint album from him and Roy Ayers called: Music Of Many Colours. It is a song about Africa, the cradle of today’s civilization. Recorded twenty-one years after he left Nigerian shores to study music at London Trinity College Of Music. According to Fela in this song, the ignorance of the Western world at this time was still very much evident. Englishmen, who were not aware of the ape-like origin of man, used to come-over to him to find-out if he got a tail like apes and monkeys. For him, it is only ignorance that could be the reason for such dumb questions. He points to Africa’s place at the centre of the world map, as not by accident, rather because we were the first people on earth, adding that territory has been man’s major reason for going to war. If Africans occupy the best area in the world, this is not by accident. Africans must have been the strongest people to occupy the centre of the world.

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released September 14, 2010

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Fela Kuti Lagos, Nigeria

Over a decade after his death, vindication has come to Fela Kuti, Africa’s musical genius. AfroBeat, his gift to the world, is now an international staple on his own uncompromising terms, social content intact.

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