No Trivia

FANDOR: “Music Is the Weapon, Meet the Real Fela Kuti (Not the Broadway Version)”

one comment

Forgot to put this up last week. I wrote about the 1982 Fela Kuti documentary Music Is The Weapon for the streaming film website Fandor. If you haven’t seen it, you can join Fandor for a week for free and check it out. You should!

Sitting in a busted chair amongst his numerous dancers and wives, nestled in his compound in Lagos, which he declared its own separate republic, Fela Anikulapo Kuti pontificates on solving the dire situation in his home country of Nigeria: “Africans must know. Someone must spread the knowledge.” He then pauses for dramatic effect. “And I think I have the knowledge.” He brings a massive joint to his lips. It is 1982 and Fela is running for president of Nigeria, whether the hopelessly corrupt powers that be like it or not.

If your experience with the Afrobeat inventor and political firebrand comes from Fela!, the hit Broadway musical with the tagline “Energy, Passion, Revolution, Power” then this not-so-glamorous, ground-level documentary may be particularly edifying. Stéphane Tchal Gadjieff and Jean-Jacques Flori’s Fela Kuti: Music Is The Weapon is a near-hour long dose of Fela that allows viewers to make of him what they will. When he’s shown driving a van with his name emblazoned on the front of it, there’s a creepy though maybe necessary hucksterism to his political sloganeering and advertising. Indeed, his nightclub is called–with some irony and clever branding–The Shrine. But you also witness the musician terrorized by government, which makes his passion tangible…

Written by Brandon

January 2nd, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Fandor

One Response to 'FANDOR: “Music Is the Weapon, Meet the Real Fela Kuti (Not the Broadway Version)”'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'FANDOR: “Music Is the Weapon, Meet the Real Fela Kuti (Not the Broadway Version)”'.

  1. Hey Brandon, happy new year!

    I just wanted to pop in and say that I’m happy to see you reviewing and otherwise writing all over the place these days. I drop by every now and again for updates, and to see what else it is that I’m out of the loop on anymore! (I chose this post to make this comment, because at least I know something about Fela, ha!)

    Anyway, keep up the good work. Cheers.


    3 Jan 12 at 8:47 pm

Leave a Reply