Tuesday, October 28, 2014 2:36 pm
The 2014 edition of Felabration, an annual music and arts festival in honour of Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, holds in Lagos
In the early morning of Monday, 20 October, legendary Jamaican reggae musician, Don Carlos, was welcomed on stage of the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos with a deafening applause. The 62-year-old reggae star, performing in Nigeria for the first time, was the special guest artiste for this year’s edition of Felabration, a music and arts festival put together to celebrate the life and times of the late Afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
For almost one hour, Carlos, a former member of Black Uhuru – a reggae band he formed with Rudolph Dennis and Derrick Simpson – held thousands of fans inside and outside the Afrika Shrine, venue of the festival, enthralled as he belted out hit after hit from his vast repertoire. Backed by Femi Kuti’s Positive Force Band, Carlos reeled out songs such as “Spread Out”, “Harvest Time” and “Day to Day Living”.
Carlos’ performance brought to a climax, the seven-day festival which kicked off on 12 October with the premiere of Finding Fela, a documentary about the political and musical life of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
“It is an honour to be in Lagos, Nigeria to celebrate Fela Kuti, a true African champion and Afrobeat king. He was a prophet and a legend of our time,” an excited Carlos said.
The Jamaican had led other musicians from different parts of the world to make this year’s festival a huge success. His counterpart and reggae star, Raymond ‘Aima’ Moses, was also on hand to spice the festival.
Over the years, Felabration has attracted many high-class musical acts both locally and internationally. Music luminaries that have performed in the festival in its 16-year history include Hugh Masekela, King Sunny Ade, Lucky Dube, Awilo Logomba, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, Lagbaja, Asa, Baba Maal, 2Face Idibia, D’Banj, Les Nubians, Nneka, and Kimani Marley.
And this year, over 100 talented artistes climbed the stage to pay homage to Fela.
Apart from Femi Kuti, the popular Gangbe Brass Band from Benin Republic opened the last day’s gig. The eight-man band, which mixes traditional Benin idioms and invigorates them with jazz harmonies, performed a number of Afrobeat songs, with Femi joining them on stage for a duet.
Others who electrified the festival were Ortisefemi, Sound Sultan, Olamide, Daddy Showkey, Timaya, Wizkid, DJ Jimmy Jatt, Styl Plus, Olaitan ‘Heavywindz’ Adeniji, Edaota, Orezi, Sule Adio Malaika, Weird MC, Mr Songs, Patoranking and KCee among others. This year’s Felabration was themed: The Legends: Who No Know Go Know.
The Felabration Week always runs through mid-October to ensure that Fela’s posthumous birthday celebration on 15 October is part of the festival.
Apart from the concert, the Fela Debates series has become an important segment of the annual celebration. This year, which coincidentally is Nigeria’s centennial year, had as the symposium topic: “The Amalgamation of The Peoples of The Niger Area”
Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former minister of education, was the guest speaker. She was supported by Professor Sophie Oluwole, a retired professor of African Philosophy, and Mr. Emeka Edward Keazor, a lawyer.