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Felabration In London This Weekend
Richie Troughton , October 4th, 2016 15:10

Annual celebration of Fela Kuti's life and work returns to London this week with Dele Sosimi set to headline

The annual celebration of the life and music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti returns to London on Friday (October 7) for this year’s Felabration event.

The concert at the Electric Ballroom in Camden will feature musicians who have both played with the Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer and human rights activist and those who have been inspired by his music to perform some of Fela’s best known songs and keep his message alive.

Each year the event marks the birthday of Fela, who died in 1997 and would have been 78 on October 15. The first Felabration was held a decade ago at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, organised by Kuti’s children Femi and Yeni Kuti, with events now held all over the world.

Heading the line-up in London is the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, with guest vocalists set to pay tribute to the man and take on their favourite Fela songs including MC Afrikan Boy, Terri Walker, Tiggs Da Author, YolanDa Brown and many more, with some as-yet-unannounced surprises on the night. The after-party will be hosted by Afrobeat DJ Kochi Sakai.

Afrikan Boy said: "This project is the closest I will get to our late Black President. Fela was and still is a huge fountain of inspiration to my music. In many ways you can say he lives through our music through his music. The new generation is learning and taking his messages to the new world. I re-present the image and power of Fela through my own performances to remind people of our roots and culture! I no be gentleman at all o! I be Afrikan Boy Original!"

YolanDa Brown added: "I love artists whose music speak. Fela Kuti through his music spoke truth, reality and more. The catchy grooves and honest lyrics became his sound and trademark. I am so excited to pay tribute to a true legend."

Dele Sosimi was a member of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Egypt ’80 group as keyboard player from 1979-86 and later joined his son Femi Anikulapo Kuti’s Positive Force (1986-1994). He has continued to work as an ambassador for Afrobeat music and his 14-piece Afrobeat Orchestra will provide musical backing for all guests on the night.

Sosimi said: “To celebrate Fela is more than an honour - it's my duty. Fela is the reason Afrobeat music is what it is, and he is the reason Afrobeat music is in my DNA, coursing through the essence of my being and coming out in the various formats in which I perform, to a devout worldwide audience of Afrobeat enthusiasts who will take advantage of every opportunity to savour, appreciate, and gyrate to, this unique genre.”

Sosimi recently followed up last year’s You No Fit Touch Am album with an In Dub version in collaboration with Prince Fatty and Nostalgia 77.

Read Dele Sosimi speaking to tQ about his introduction to Fela Anikulapo Kuti in a Baker’s Dozen feature here.

Tickets are available here and here. For more information click here.

To get you in the mood above is ‘Water No Get Enemy’ by the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra featuring Tony Allen, 2face Idibia and Laura Mvula at last year’s Felabration at the British Library in London.