I was having a conversation with my son whose a musician and lives in London [Lord Tusk aka Crying Hands of the Netherworld] about Nigerians in London many of whom are somehow incapable of accepting the fact that he is a Nigerian too. The man is tired of this nonsense please! He just wants to buy his ogbono and gari and be on his way to the kitchen without having to explain his whole life story to strangers who don’t believe it anyway. And why are people insisting on asking who you are just because you happen to be in the same shop buying similar food. The conversation got me thinking about nations, nationalisms and allegiances, and once again I affirmed to myself that I really don’t care for any of it. It’s important that I know who my ancestors are and my personal history but thats the limit of my sense of the historical, geographical, and ethnic context of how I arrived at my being.
A far more interesting allegiance and nation is that of music and since I’m still stuck in the 80s and feel patriotic only about music, Fela came to mind. I wonder how much Fela really cared about the notion of a one Nigeria? I think he was more concerned with injustice and the oppression of the masses [yes he was a patriarch, sexist and probably homophobic but at the same time he was anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist AND most importantly he was of his time, so I can live with loving his music as a weapon & CELEBRATE HIM. He not only gave us music, he gave us ideas, he allowed us to imagine a different Nigeria, a different world]
His son Seun is from a different time [grandson of my SHEROE, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. He’s spoken out against the Nigerian Same Sex Marriage Bill whilst at the same time followed in his father’s political consciousness and musical footsteps. I believe right now Seun is Nigeria’s, no Africa’s greatest musician. I was at his Shrine debut in 2009 and was blown away by his mix of the old Afro Fela beat with rich high tempo Afro jazz, the man is incredible as he takes Fela to another level and out passes his brother Femi. Femi plays music, Seun makes music [Fela was / is THE music, deep, soil, ancestral]. His new album “A Long Way to the Beginning” goes even further as for example, he teams up with Ghanaian rapper Blitz the Ambassador on “African Smoke” and I love the “Dead Prez” video which is a cross between MJ’s Thriller and Walking Dead though in a US context the chasers should be DEAD COPS !
Below a live MR BIG Thief Thief [about 40.00] – the murderous dictator, ex army general, ex [un] peacekeeper, ex president, chicken farmer, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo………
Happy birthday to my friend Donald @actordonald