A programme of Music and Arts inspired by the Nigerian megacity
Friday 22 January 2016, Rough Trade Nottingham 6.30 - 11pm, Free entry
7pm - 7.45 Short films on Nigeria.
A curated series of short films capturing the history, culture and music of Lagos
DJ sets by Joff and Ex-Friendly
The inspiration and influence for Afrobeat
From Ghanaian highlife, Yoruba rhythms and heavy US funk.
The global influence of Afrobeat
Contemporary dance music influenced by the artform that Fela created.
In 1977, Fela Kuti and the Afrika '70 released the album Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic, during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother (whose house was located opposite the commune) was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed had it not been for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the Dodan Barracks in Lagos, General Olusegun Obasanjo's residence, and to write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier", referencing the official inquiry that claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier.
After a succession of military juntas known as the ‘Decade of coups’ (1966-76), political parties were slowly reestablished (under military guidance) and the Second Republic was created in 1979. The Republic only lasted 4 years before the military junta took control again citing civilian corruption and so the country’s fortunes ebb and flow. Nigeria’s current President Muhammadu Buhari has been implicated in many of the events of the past 30 years and once jailed Fela in 1985. Lagos is now one the largest megacities in the World.
1977 was also the year that Lagos hosted Festac '77, also known as the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture. The month-long event celebrated African culture and showcased to the world African music, fine art, literature, drama, dance and religion. About 16,000 participants, representing 56 African nation and countries of the African Diaspora, performed at the event. Artists included Stevie Wonder, Gilberto Gil from Brazil, Bembeya Jazz National from Guinea, Mighty Sparrow, Les Ballets Africains, Sun Ra, Miriam Makeba, Donald Byrd and Franco Luambo Makiadi. At the time it was held, it was the largest pan-African gathering.
The global influence of Fela and Afrobeat is enormous. In Africa as a whole, he stood as a freedom fighter against injustice and corruption, ranking alongside Bob Marley as a cultural icon and his music and the never ending parade of incredible musicians who are drawn to Lagos continue to influence much contemporary dance music.
Revolution And Change brings together film, art and music inspired by and from Lagos’ prolific creative community.