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Fela Kuti

Vocalist, Multi-Instrumentalist, Composer


Fela Kuti


Fela arrived in 1958 to study composition and trumpet performance at Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance), having been sent to London to study medicine by his parents. Whilst studying he formed his band Koola Lobitos, which pioneered a style of music now known as Afrobeat. His music was influenced by James Brown, Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra as well as Yoruba traditional music and Ghanaian and Nigerian ‘highlife’ style, and Koola Lobitos became a regular feature on the London music scene. Fela returned to Nigeria in 1969 and Koola Lobitos went through various incarnations as Nigeria ’70, Afrika ’70, Egypt ’70 and Egypt ’80. Whilst touring the United States in 1969, he discovered the Black Power movement which was to heavily influence his music, with his songs becoming concerned with social and political issues. Throughout his life, he was always politically outspoken and courted controversy, but his style of Afrobeat has left a major lasting legacy and it continues to influence musicians and producers today.