Fela Kuti : Digital Paticipation
Fela Kuti is a Nigerian musician and activist who created Afrobeat music and was arrested and beaten continuously for writing lyrics that questioned the Nigerian government. I went to a documentary screening of Fela Kuti called Finding Fela.
The documentary did a really nice job grasping the life of Kela and his resistance to submit to Nigerian government, using the method of Music. In the documentary, people ask Fela Kuti why his songs are so long, lasting for 30 minutes in average. Fela responds by saying the music of the great composers like Beethoven are long too and it is because they lay down their thought in the music. Fela goes on by saying that it is same for him, that he is composing a music which represents his thoughts. Fela’s respond was interesting to me because it made me think that if he have a lot of ideas and thoughts about a issue, and music is his form of communication, why should it have length restraints? I thought that Kela’s answer was a wise one to a rather foolish question. This response of Kela implies that he is using music as a form of communication both to Nigerian government and to other citizens of Nigeria. The lyrics are often about government’s oppression on its people and the importance of people to fight for their rights.
Here is the link to one of his song called Shuffering and Shmiling.
If you want to know more about it, check out this website http://www.felaproject.net/