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Kalakuta Show (1976)

by Fela Kuti

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The Kalakuta Show album release was Fela’s undaunted manner of extracting revenge on the military regime that attacked and brutalized him in 1974. The second of such attacks in a space of eight months, Kalakuta Show was an attempt by the Nigerian police to influence the cause of justice. After the first police raid on Kalakuta in April 1974, Fela was charged to court for: ‘possession of dangerous drugs’, and abduction of ‘minors’. However, the evidence presented by the prosecution was easily explained by the defense, who claimed that the drugs found in the premises belonged to Junction Clinic, a government licensed clinic situated inside Kalakuta Republic and run by Fela’s younger brother, Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti. On the ‘abduction of minor’ charge, all the young girls arrested in Fela’s house denied they were underage, nor abducted, and they claimed in court they went to Fela’s house of their own accord. With no substantial evidence to convict Fela in this highly publicized trial, the police chose to raid Fela’s residence a second time, one week before judgment on the case, hoping to find evidence this time around. The result is the narrative of the grueling and brutal manner the police treated their victims. They list the case, and Fela appearing in court with scalp wounds, and a broken arm, drew more sympathy from the judge than the contrary. A crowd of more than fifty-thousand Lagos youths carried Fela from the court house in the Apapa area of Lagos to Kalakuta Republic—a distance of about six kilometers. During this jubilation, traffic was at a stand-still for several hours in the central part of Lagos mainland.

Don’t Make Garan Garan: The right to the land belongs to all. We are all sons and daughters of the land—sings Fela in Don’t Make Big-Mannism for me. Ganran Ganran in Yoruba language means: an egoist, full of himself, self-centered person. The rich and highly placed Nigerians, who frequently try to lord it over the poor, are being asked to know their limits. For if they bring their big-manism close to him(Fela), heaven will fall: ‘…to ba se ganran ganran si mi orun awoo! We all know that, if heaven falls it will fall on everyone,’ he concludes.

- Mabinuori Kayode Idowu


released May 11, 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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