FELAversation: Talking Of Fela For Idonije
TWO Nigerians who have written the most definitive andrevealing books about the status, art and politics ofthe legendary creator of afrobeat music, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, will be on duty on Wednesday, August 23 at: The Cinema hall 11 of the National Theatre, Iganmu Lagos. Time is 1pm.
Professor Tejumola Olaniyan, the Loiuse Durham Mead Professor at the University of Wisconsin, USA, andauthor of Fela: Arrest The Music and Dr Sola Olorunyomi, of the English Department, University of Ibadan and author of Fela And the Imagined Continent,will be guests at the August edition of the monthly Arthouse Forum, organised by the Friends of the Arts,Lagos, FOAL on the platform of the Committee forRelevant Art, CORA.
The event is in honour of Benson Idonije, the veteran writer on music and broadcasting, who was 70 on June 17.
Idonije, who has written an average of three articles per week in The Guardian since 1996, was the very first manager of Fela Kuti when he returned to Nigeria in the 50s. In fact, Idonije recruited all the members of the then Koola Lobitos band including the current leader of the band and Fela’s longest serving sideman, the tenor saxophonist, Lekan Animasaun aka Baba Ani.
According to the FOAL, the Fela Conversation (FELAversation) is designed to celebrate the fact that"Nigerian intellectuals have, at last, responded to the challenges posed by their counterparts from the West and Europe on the issue of articulating the epochal contribution of one of Africa’s leading cultural icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti to world culture."Before now, the works that have served as references on Fela Kuti were those authored by scholars who were either impatient with thoroughly understanding the complexities of Fela’s politics and arts, or were propelled by mindset about Africa and its people in terms of capability to contribute to world of ideas even through music; or were just lazy in their approach to the research and the eventual writing."With Olaniyan’s Fela: Arrest The Music and Fela:The Imagined Continent, the authentic documentation of Fela’s iconoclasm is beginning to emerge. We areindeed proud of these two works and the authors."The event will be moderated by Femi Akintunde-Johnson, former Entertainment Editor of The Punch newspaper, who later went on to co-found FAME and Encomium magazines, and now publishes Treasure magazine.
Deacon Ayo Ositelu, a fomer editor of Sunday Punch, who did one of the most important interviews with Fela Kuti in 1994, will also reflect on the relationship between Fela and idonije, emphasising on how mutual collaboration between the artiste and the journalist can yield substantial dividend for the individual career of the two as well as the cultural heritage of the society. There will be a bandstand that will play lots of Fela’s number to aid the discussion."FELAversation is a musical exploration and picnic", says Chris Ihidero, FOAL’s programme officer. The event is supported by the management of the National Theatre of Nigeria.
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