MUSIC AND REVOLUTION: A STUDY OF FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI
What is music? Music a general melody of sounds that unify the mind and soul,not even language differencescan’t stop music fromreaching out to her selected audience, even before recorded history, people created music, whether through drumming, singing or chanting. Some of our strongest emotions may be brought on by listening to a piece of music. In this modern age, we hear music around us almost all of our waking hours, in one form or another: radio, television or film music and our personal music (iPods, MP3 players, etc.) is with us throughout the day. Most of us listen to recorded music or go to performances regularly, and some of us play a musical instrument. Prior to modern audio recording technology, music was available only in the presence of a musician, or to those who played an instrument or sang. Music varies in genres, pop, rock, R’n’B etc.
A basic definition of music (in the Western World) is the chronological organisation of sounds; that is, making certain sounds at certain times, which make melodic, rhythmic and harmonic sense.The first, most basic concept, is keeping the sounds “in time”. This leads us to some of the first few musical concepts: beat, rhythm and duration.Beat is the regular pulse which provides a `timeline` for the rhythm to anchor itself to.Rhythm is essentially repeated patterns of long or short, stressed or unstressed sounds or silences which fit into the main beat.Duration is the length of notes or sounds or silences which facilitate the rhythm.
Monophonic texture: A melody by itself, without harmony, and without another melody. Forexample, singing in the shower, monks chanting, or a fife and drum corps.Polyphonic texture:Two or more melodies, heard at the same time. For example of singing “Row, row, row your boat” as a round, or a Bach Fugue.Music we all knowentertains, it gives pleasuretohumanity and it expresses ideas and,emotions in significant form through the Elementof rhythm, harmony and colorMusic isfound inevery known culture all over the world in past and present varying widely between times and places most people in the world includingthe tribal groups who has been existing in the ancestral population prior to the dispersal of the human race.
Music have been in existence over 55,000 years ago .Music was first invented in Africa and its fundamental consistent has played a major role in human life. Music can also be seen as an influential part of culture andaccess to technology. The motion ad ideas that music expresses the situation which is been played and listened to. The history of music can be viewed from the prehistoric music andBiblicalperiod, the prehistorical music is commonly called the primitive music.
This name is given to all music produced in preliterate cultures. This type of music also is followed by the ancient music mostly in Europe which existed in isolated areas. The origin of music is unknown as it is, occurred prior to the recorded of some scholar’ssuggestions According to Geberth’sGlaindo’s view 2003 clearly state that “Music can change dramatically over a short period”. However music stirs the natural occurrence of sound and rhythmic nature that suit the human mind using,the patterns of repetitionand tonality. Even today some cultures have certain instances that may serve as entertainment to theirsociety.The history of music needs rewriting because the greatest source available has been rejected which is recognizing the creator of the universe (God) as the origin of music.According to the Easton Bible dictionary Jubal was recorded as the inventor of musical instrument also the Bible also indicate that the first man (Adam) knew and practice music.
Considering how existed in the spirit realm, the book of revelation records the lyrics of the Angels shouting and dancing around God’s heavenly throne. Also the bible reveals that God sings (zephaniah3: 17) this clearly stated that God is a lover of music just has human beings love music.Throughout the history of music colorful tones pulsating rhythm and meaningful lyrics have been a catalyst or sound track for movement of change.
A major usage of music is to portray ideas such as in politics, spirituality or philosophical way, but however, it can be used to show the meaning like people expressing their love for loved once, to show boredom and to show creativity. Music can also be used to liven up, it may not have specific idea or meaning but it can be used to make things look better and more complete. Many people depend on it as it has become relevant source of lively hood. Music also can be used to voice the plight of the repressed. In America, the sixties saw the coining of the phrase “protest songs” as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and a plethora of author artist were protesting the Vietnam War. “A hard rain is gonna fall “they said and it did. Woodstock wasn’t far away neither was Jim Hendrix warped rendition of the US national anthem reflecting what he thought of his country then.
Just about the same time, a dilettante John Lennon was singing “Happiness is a warm gun.‘Little did he know that on a cold December night, the warmth of a gun would take his life In the Caribbean,drenched in sun and music, the Jamaican reggae cum Rasta phenomenon propelled Michael Manley to power he was replaced a while but not before Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley had time to spread the “stand up for your right “philosophy(Jean Pierre Cloutier 1987). others include Denver john , luigiNono ( 1924-1990) an Italian composer , Quaker , Bonnie Ratite who championed social causes and has worked for victims of political persecution In the American countries , U2 , an Irish rock music band which achieved worldwide popularity during the 1980s and 1990s . The subsequently grew famous for commitment to political causes including prominent support for international human rights.Music also can connect the written word to social rights issues, conveying a message of hope to the society also portrayed as freedom and expression often used to evoke politics and some aspect of the society. It is often used as a form of propaganda and thus can be used to subtly influence popular conception or mood. Lastly music connect people around the world.Another key to the order in music is the music being the same and different. The brain works by looking at different pieces of information and deciding if they are different or the same. This is done in music of the baroque and classical periods by playing a theme and then repeating or changing the theme. Furthermore excessive repetition causes people to lose control of their thought and expression. While rhythmic repetition is used by people who are trying to push ethics in their music (O’Donnell, 1999)
1.0 BACK GROUND TO THE STUDY
The key to approaching the music of Fela and it change contexts of revolution, circular and consumption reveals the peculiar character of the relationship between art specifically oppositional music and post-colonial African state. Fela‘sAfro beat occupies a pivotal position in Nigeria musical continuum and socio political discourse, throughFela a new medium of social and political criticism was Unearthed for the critical mass of Nigeria in the 1970. Although Nigeria was experiencing what would turn out to been a brief respite of oil boom prosperity after the biter Biafra civil war. Fela used his music to remind the society to be critical and cautions about the military, dictatorship and the impact of neocolonialism on the psyche of the Nigeria people.
In other words fela is seen as an activist all over Africa. A true activist first of all must acknowledge the power of the mind. There is no road to healing;consciousness must be fundamental in the process of doing this he or she realizes that the root cause of the ecological destruction of the world and social injustice are not “out there “but in here”- in our own mind (Andrew 2003) this where the music of fela comes to play, his emotions towards the oppressed and the creation of mental image of societies who were used by their dictators describing them as been constantly responsible for Africa’s woes.
His words, Africa was been ruled not by people, but by comprador classes nations as a whole.In conclusion Fela’s music through his famous songs tittleTeacher as his focus letting people see that the white man knows everything we know but one of the important thing they thought us was politics so he used that to compare the situation of issues we are facing in NigeriaFela’s ideology is a matrix of radical Black Nationalism which opened out to a much expansive Pan Africanism and Afro centrism and a sturdy partisanship for the oppressed lower classes that could be described as socialist in orientation and an irrepressible libertarianism that frequently tries to anchor the articulator of the other two. Fela’s solidarity with the oppressed lower classes was a complete. He lived in their midst, trumpeted their sounds to national attention,experienced their brutalitalization at the hands of official lawlessness and even shared their poverty(Olaniyan, 1977). Recalling for AlbertMemmi‘s notion of class suicide. Olaniyan also offers this aspect of Fela who is not born into the oppressed lower classes as consummate an example of class suicide as we can get to in the world of actual struggle.
1.3SCOPE OF STUDY
The study is designed to embrace revolution tune in the music of Fela and his relation topolitical activism especially in Nigeria. it is also designed to embraced the teachings of Fela’smusic and recognizing FelaAnikulapoKuti as the number one musical icon an activist in Nigeria even when his dead his music lives on.The purpose the of a particular study or research is embed in the intension to resolve a problem.
1.4 PURPOSE OF STUDY
Consequently the study is aim at;
1. Establishing the fact that music is a critical and essential instrument of change making.
2. To demonstrate how Fela’s music has been use as instrument of change making in time past.
The research makes use of both primary and secondary sources in order to obtain primary data,research questionnaires were developed personally administered by the researcher to studentsof university of Abuja. Primary data obtained from respondents has been classified into sampling proportions using single percentage. This would allow for easy interpretations and detailed discussion. Data has been presented in tables with descriptions. The sample size will be determined by means of convenience sampling techniqueThe secondary data will be gotten from specifically internet materials, general discussion with people inclusive of class lectures, newspaper and magazines
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The significance of any research lies in its contribution to the improvement of life by
way of possessing the potential or application to problems. In doing so, this study
literature. The form of activism proposes intellectual approach (dealing with the brain
andmind) to solving both political and social problem faced in the modern day Nigeria
Most researcher’s topics in the English department would focus on feminism,stylistics,
phoneticsetc. but this research with its new dimension is made in attempt to just know
more about music and the revolutionary tune in the music of Fela and also to impact the
study of revolution or change making in the department of English
2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
Music and its relationship with change making was an area that had attracted attention from a
fewscholars, but in recent times the need becomes inherent has contemporary exposure to
music and change making. The Nigerian music industry has produced and its still producing a lot
of great celebrities that play a major role in the political development of a country portraying
music as a revolution or change makingamongst these musicians includeTu face ldibia with
“for instance or ebi like say “, sound sultan with”jagbanjantis and light up Niger area “Black
oga police”. Just to mention a few in the contemporary Nigeria. However it was Olufela
Olusegun OludotunRansomeKuti(laterFelaAnikulapokuti which translate to he who carries
death or he who holds death in his pocket “ that was the symbolic representation of rthymic
opposition as the impact and importance of felaAnikulapokuti to the global musical village ,
producer, political radical outlaw , which comes to bear with the creation of Afro beat which is
popularize in Africa in the 1970s that came to gain international recognition and its relevance to
change making arises with not just creation of his Afro beat but what its stands for in the
revolutionary Tune in his music. Fela’s musical life spanned through the periods of almost four
decades from 1960s through to the 1990s. When he first in the 1960s. His brand of music was
the high life which he performed with other artist in many night clubs in Lagos. Political
activism through music has over the years been a common factor such as rap music in the early
1980’s became highly politicized in the united states. Jaclyn Nardone (2009) drawing largely
from the works and life of John Lennon (1940-1980), world renowned musician (former
‘Beatle’ until 1969) and peace activist, asserts that Lennon used his music to fight unjust politics,
promote his opposition to the Vietnam war, and express his love for the human race. As such, He
understood that people could be changed. By changing the system, (the Irish, Russians and
French did it but got them nowhere.) it is the same old game. Thus, Lennon was inspired to adapt
new measures and change people and politics through his music. In other words, moving to
change the system first without changing the people that comprise the society would be a
fruitless endeavor. Music thus come to play the primary role of changing the people from their
minds so further changes to the system could be fruitful. Jaclyn Nardone further asserts that
culture is music, thus politicizing music is a means of arousing political culture.
process of a country. He supports his points by asserting that musicians such as Bob Dylan, Billy
Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Dixie Chicks, Elton John, Grateful Dead, Madonna, Ne-Yo, The
Decemberists, The Goo-Goo Dolls among a host of others have held concerts, primarily for
Barack Obama, as a way of influencing America. These icons of popular culture can have a
profound influence on potential voters. An example of this influence was the concert held in
Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen. This Bruce Springsteen’s concert in Philadelphia was to act
as “…a catalyst for the disengaged to register to vote”. Plenty of people heard the call and
according to the Obama campaign, some 21,000 new voters were registered as a result of the
event. This also helped Clinton to win his presidency by mobilizing the young people. Likewise,
in 2008, Rock Activists such as Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen held concerts to support and
gather votes for the candidates and they registered almost 2.3 million young people who by and
large support Obama and probably facilitated Obama’s victory over McCain. The outcome of
this election was heavily influenced by a process of political Activism through music which have
a potent effect on the political processes of The United States of America.
This is also evident in the Nigerian political system as evident in songs used as political jingles
and musicians playing an important role during political campaigns
Austin ‘MaroEmielu (2008) asserts that political activism through music is most evident in the
role music plays in youth empowerment. He supports this assertion on the basis that “a
professionalized music industry will midwife institutionalization of specialized sectors, which
will become the engine for growth, development and empowerment for youths with interest in
the music industry”. Drawing examples from Nigeria, he lays emphasis on the importance of the
Nigerian music industry which if fully tapped into, can replace crude oil as the mainstay of
for ideological change and mass re-orientation. Popular music can also be put to a variety of
uses, in product advertisement, promoting government programs and policies and also in
becoming a social voice for the ‘voiceless’, oppressed and deprived masses as we can find in the
case of Fela’s Afro-Beat. Finally, the massive entry of the feminine folk into popular music in
contemporary times represent another form of women empowerment which has been a major
pre-occupation of women and feminist activist in government, the academia and other women
rights organization in recent history”.
Barrer, (2009) opines that rap’s improvement in the society are peculiar and notable. He studied
how rap improved the social conditions of the people in Slovak. Giving illustrations on how rap
provides a vector of advantaged admission to discourses within Slovak society. Aside from that
his essay also demonstrates an approach into how a global music phrase has been accustomed
and re-modeled with local meanings. “A key part of rap’s appeal and capacity to provoke
audiences lies in its lyrical content, which aggressively counters official standards in language
and the thematic norms of other styles of contemporary popular music.”
Alex Ross (1995) places his argument on the role of composers in the society. He believes that
the morale is that the composers who begin with writing for the man on the street often end up
writing for an elite audience drawing examples from Feldman a German musician and political
activist who later started singing solidarity melodies to the elites. That is musicians could first
accept to use their music for political activism but after a while, they divert solidarity melodies to
the elites for economical, political or social gains. However, tobioshodi (2010) tends to
contradict this view in his analysis of Nigeria that “there is a movement from the hitherto largely
musical silence or solidarity of musicians in the First era (1960-1979) towards rhythmic
opposition in the current era” with his thesis that the military regimes in Nigeria played a role in
limiting freedom of speech as such, limiting political activism through music.
However, in the late 1960s to 1970s he went to the United States where he came in contact
with the black panthers and the ideas of Malcom X and co. by the time he came back his
musical orientation had started to have pan Africanist context.
In the vein of his political activity, his parent had an effect in shaping his political outlook later
in life. His father late Rev RansomeKuti was the acknowledged first Nigerian union of teachers
while his mother was a renounced women’s right activist, who once led the protest of Egba
women against excessive taxation by the British colonialist.
Fela’sMusic and change making also has played an important role in which has raised eyes
browse through the music of FelaAnikulapo. The aspect of political activism that comes to the
lime light with impact on music.
As political issues begin to seep into the lives of people and also need to be changing to
altercate to this shift in culture.
Revolution through change making has over the years been a common factors drawing from
the works and life of Fela , the legendary musician of Africa .since 1990 there have been
revitalization of Fela’s influence on music and popular culture culminating in another release of
hiscatalog controlled by universal music , Broadway and off Broadway biographically basically
shows and new bands such as Antibalas who carry the Afro beat banner to a new generations
of listeners .Felas focus was to change the mindset of the masses through his music by exposing
the corrupt leaders who claim to have the interest of the nations at hand rather for their selfish
However music have come to play an important role in the lives of people around the world
changing people from their mind to further changes around them. This is where the change
making came into existence in Fela’s music. In the United States Jaclyn Nardone 2009 was a
renowned musicians (former Beatle) and peace activist, he used his music to fight unjust
politics, promote his opposition to the VietnamWar and also express his love for human race.
As such he understood that people could be changed by changing the system. He shared the
same view with Fela who suffers brutality for the sake of the masses in other to stand up for
the truth through his music. The musical style performed by Fela is called afro beat which is
essentially a fusion of jazz,funk, psychedelic rock, and traditional West African chants and
rhythms. As lwediOjinmah points out in his article “baba is dead – long live baba “. Afro Beat
also borrows heavily from the native “tinker pan “African – style percussion that fela acquired
while studying in Ghana with Hugh Masaketa, under the uncanny hedzoleh sounds. Afro beat is
also characterized by having vocals and musical structure along with jazzy, funky horn sections.
The endless groove is also used in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted gutter and
bass guitar are repeated throughout the songs.