Very few people living can honestly say that they have experienced the great Fela Anikulapo Kuti perform, but this excellent quality video uploaded by youtube user skankiniteasy gives us a front row seat to this performance of Fela and his famed band Africa 70 performing Cross Examination, as well as his magnificent dancing wives, who make the show complete and extraordinary.
One comment from this video comically states that at the 5:13 mark, what the woman dancer is doing is the precursor to the running man, but in all seriousness, it is interesting to see traditional dances mimic
current contemporary pop dances that we see today. It’s unknown if anything from Nigeria ever resembled the dougie, but in theory, African dance was, is, and will continue to be prevalent in modern music.
For those who are familiar with Fela know his sound, but for those who don’t, the easiest way to describe him is he is the African James Brown, simply because they share so many similarities. The grove of their music, their commanding presence to lead their band, as the band supply the backbone for the frontman (which would make Africa similar to The JB’s), and their time of relevancy line up with one another. The main difference between the two is that James Brown was more of a dancer, while Fela played a multitude of instruments, but regardless of their similarities, their influence to an entire culture is undeniable.
Roy Ayers and Fela Kuti were great friends, as Mr. Ayers can go on forever about the impact that Fela had on his personal life, as well as his music. The Afrobeat sound can be heard in Roy Ayers’ music, especially in the early 80’s after he spent months in Nigeria with Fela in 1980. Imagine seeing Roy Ayers and Fela Kuti on the same stage. There must be some people walking this earth that can say that they were even luckier to have been at one of those performances, and we all just dream how wonderful the music was
I guess this video of Fela in Berlin will have to do for the time being.
Written by: Haylow