Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fela Radio Interview

In anticipation of the Soundway Records release Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound in 1970s Nigeria (CD/Triple LP) out this March, the label has found a rare radio interview with Nigeria's most recognizable political music figure.

Soundway's Duncan Ballantyne on the Fela interview:
“Having recently picked up some old reel to reel tapes at a Help the Aged shop round the corner from my house I was pretty astonished to hear this recording of Fela being interviewed in London just prior to his major tour with Ginger Baker. Recognize the song in the background? It is a version of the lead track off Soundway's latest album. We’re particularly fond of the delivery from the presenter but not so keen on his lack of English decorum when it comes to his opinion on Fela’s vocals”.

Nigeria Afrobeat Special is the fourth addition to the Nigeria Special series, a project initiated by Miles Cleret, owner of the Soundway Record label back in 2004. Cleret’s ambition to distinguish the blossoming music scenes of 1970s Nigeria has lent to an indispensable series of CD and LP compilations documenting the influence of western blues, rock and disco amongst artists and musicians versed in the local musical styles of highlife and juju.

It was Fela Kuti and his musical and political ideals that formed the core of afrobeat’s message. Blending highlife, Yoruba music, funk and jazz, Fela dominated the musical tapestry of 1970s Nigeria and his influence in Nigeria and West Africa led to a craze where most of the bands of the day incorporated this new sound into their repertoires to satisfy the tastes of the audiences of the time. This compilation highlights some of those recordings that have, until now, not seen the light of day.

Appropriately, Fela’s highly sought after version of ‘Who’re you’ lends this set its lead. Originally released on 7” in 1971, It would later be re-recorded at Abbey Road for his album Fela’s London Scene and here is re-issued for the first time ever.