Tag Archives: Fela Kuti

Come Together with The AfroBeatles.

Do you know what today is?

Its the day we drop the AfroBeatles Come Together Beasts of No Nation mash up video remix.

It’s also the anniversary of the Beatles’ 1969 track, Come Together.

“Come Together” came from “come together, join the party” the campaign slogan for Timothy Leary’s ’69 campaign for governor of California against Ronald Reagan.

If you follow me at all, you may have noticed I’m on a mission of sorts: to spread the word about The AfroBeatles.

All last week, we dropped tasty little factoids like this about Come Together.

If you peeped any of the various AfroBeatles social media properties, you would have learnt a lil’ sumthin.

Like, did you know that in the opening of Come Together, John Lennon says “here come old flattop,” referring to a popular style of haircut worn in the 60s?

Or that Come Together was released as a double A-side with Something?

Or that it Abbey Road was the title of the album Come Together appears on?

Come Together

Last week we also dropped factoids about Beasts of No Nation, the other half of the AfroBeatles mashup.

Like, did you know that Beasts of No Nation was Fela’s anti-apartheid album with Egypt ’80.

Or that in Beasts of No Nation Fela attacks the corrupt Nigerian government, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and P.W. Botha for their respective parts in the destabilization of Africa?

Or that the cover art for Beasts of No Nation was created by Ghariokwu Lemi, the artist behind many of Fela’s controversial covers?

Beasts of No Nation

In 2011, Rich Medina & Mark Hines first created the Come Together Beasts of No Nation mashup.

The original mashup included footage from two live events: a performance at Fela’s Shrine, and a Beatles performance from the early ’70s.

But the remix is a marked departure from the original.

We went all-in and the imagery for the anniversary mashup is off the chain.

There are all kinds of tasty tidbits in there.

It’s an AfroBeatles mashup, so subtle nods to the group abound.

Peep how many times you see the full group on-screen in the video.

I would be remiss if I failed to big up Mark Hines for his visual acumen.

Anyway, I’m done blabbing.

Enjoy.

If you like the video, feel free to check out the other mashups at AfroBeatles.com.

And by all means share!

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Get Back! Take a trip down the AfroBeatles rabbit hole.

20130704-093534.jpg

Its been almost a month since Yoda placed me on my AfroBeatles mission.

He planted the seed and I have meticulously tended to it.

Day by day, I’ve given the AfroBeatles my focused attention.

Fast forward to today and I’m steeped in AfroBeatles lore.

I’m subsumed by the Fela Kuti Beatles collaboration in this alternate universe.

As I learn more about Fela, the individual, the prospect of this imagined group, The AfroBeatles, is even more intriguing.

Its been made all the more real, by my examination of the actual people.

Every day, I’ve been listening to the music, watching videos and researching.

I’ve queried my relatives on their impressions of Fela coming up in Nigeria.

Probing to determine what they thought of him as a person, musician and revolutionary.

I even downloaded This Bitch of A Life by Carlos Moore onto my ipad.

Its an auto-biography of sorts on Fela.

Fela This Bitch of A Life

Fela’s candid impressions of his life, and his experiences, told in his own words and from the perspective of those closest to him, provide a real depth of understanding for who he was.

It gives insight to why he held the convictions he did and what made his message so controversial.

Yoda gave me Revolution In The Head, the definitive “must read” on The Beatles.

Revolution In The Head

The first 20 pages put the Beatles in a light I had never previously considered.

As opposed to being a bunch of guys putting messages into their music, music was their message, and their lyrics an afterthought.

My targeted Google searches on both Fela and The Beatles unearthed troves of information, casting more light on who these guys really were.

And I’m not the only one.

Every day there are more blips on Yoda’s mental radar.

I’ve been manning the AfroBeatles online and social media command center, and the blips are there too.

A steady stream of blips congregating around certain AfroBeatles properties.

Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, are all seeing clusters of regular activity and steady growth.

Which tells me that AfroBeatles is sticky.

It could be a bunch of Yoda’s little disciples, doing his online bidding…

But hey, blips are blips.

Eventually we’ll arrive at a tipping point.

Right now, I’m listening to Get Back vs Colonial Mentality.

And once again I’m tapping and typing.

When the Beatles recorded Get Back in 1969 the song just came to them.

Over the course of a few days, they followed an idea for a song.

A rehearsal and twenty-something takes later, Get Back was here.

By contrast, Colonial Mentality came from Fela’s observation of African behavior over time.

Colonial Mentality became a scathing critique of the African adoption of English ways, to the exclusion of their own cultural traditions.

The mashup of these songs and their messages forces me to ponder how we are all trapped in constructs not of our own making.

Like Yoda’s little experiment.

Sometimes, we are creatures of accident.

But at others, we are conscious cognizant willing participants to these constructs.

I know I sound crazy when I talk like this, but stay with me.

Take this trip down the rabbit hole with me.

Watch Get Back on YouTube…

Or listen to the special Independence Day playlist on SoundCloud…

And tell me that you’re not intrigued.

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AfroBeatles: Fela + The Beatles. Yoda is real.

The AfroBeatles. John, Ringo, Fela, George and Paul.

The AfroBeatles. John, Ringo, Fela, George and Paul.

I’m sitting in NY Penn Station jamming to an AfroBeatles mash up.

I’m sorry.

What’s an AfroBeatle?

The Afrobeatles are an imaginary group from an alternate universe.

It’s The Beatles meets Fela Kuti.

In this alternate universe, these two musical icons (who, through fate, were never able to collaborate in life) create a musical journey and show us what the “what if” would have looked, sounded and felt like.

This universe contains a series of music and video mash ups of the AfroBeatles musical collabos.

Right now, I’m rocking out to Drive My Car with ODOO.

Its a mash up of the Beatles’ Drive My Car from the Rubber Soul album, and Overtake Don Overtake Overtake (ODOO) from the Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 album of the same name.

This is an assignment I’ve been given by Yoda.

Not this Yoda. The real Yoda.

Not this Yoda. The real Yoda.

Who is Yoda?

He’s my sensei.

I’m his student.

Digital kung fu.

Per Yoda: “If we transplant a concept of any serious value in the digital space, it will germinate and grow. But you must be attentive to it for it to initially sustain itself.”

So I’m documenting AfroBeatles.

Which I’ve just planted in all of you.

Did you see what just happened?

You’ve become part of Yoda’s experiment.

You’re in the Petri dish.

You’ll probably never experience his all-seeing eye.

But it’s on you.

No camera necessary.

You’re already a blip on his mental radar.

You wouldn’t even know how to avoid it if you could.

It’s been trained on all of us for a long time.

I. Sound. Crazy.

One day, you’ll think back on this post and be like “Oh yeah. He did say that was gonna happen.”

That being this AfroBeatles thing.

You’ll be able to point to this post and know when you were officially put down.

It may be because we took a walk down AfroBeatles Lane together.

Or because one day you see your neighbor on TV talking about their “walk down AfroBeatles lane” from an AfroBeatles concert in London.

And you’ll wonder, “how the hell did they get to London?”

I never really listened to the Beatles back in the day, so this will be somewhat an education for me.

Sure, I know a few of their songs, but I can’t say I’m familiar with their full body of work.

My “assignment” from Yoda is to document the AfroBeatles movement.

Including the symposia where the project will be discussed, the concerts and screenings taking place along the way.

Of course, you’re invited.

And I’ll gather more data about you.

I’ve been reflexively typing as I’ve been listening to this, so AfroBeatles music clearly has a creative effect on this listener.

My feet have been tapping this whole time, and I’m bopping my head.

Outside looking in, there’s a dreadlock on the train jamming to something.

Baby you can drive my car…

But if you got up close you would see me rat-a-tat tatting on this iPad.

Anyway, here’s how to formally participate in Yoda’s experiment:

1. Visit AfroBeatles.com (it’s a work in progress)
2. Listen to any mash up in the timeline.
3. Decide for yourself, the minute you finish listening it, within five seconds, whether you want to walk down AfroBeatles Lane.
4. If “yes” document your walk down AfroBeatles Lane. Read the blog, listen to more tracks, download, like, share, comment and become a fellow blip.
5. Record where you are the day AfroBeatles becomes mainstream.

Yoda predicted lots of blips.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Oh…welcome to my world.

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The Beatles+Fela+Rich Medina+Mark Hines+Live Scoring+DROM = A night not to be missed.

Fela was the fifth Beatle. He didn't tour with them because he wouldn't rock the bowl cut.

I am an out and out FAN of Rich Medina.

Sure, he’s my dude.

I’ve known him since college.

And yes, we’ve partied and bullshat (past tense of bullshit, and bullshitted is also acceptable) across the globe.

But whenever this fool is on the ones and twos (aka ‘wheels of steel’ aka ‘Technics’ aka ‘turntables’) he just does something to me.

…I get this…

…uncontrollable…

urge to dance.

Literally.

It usually starts with a subtle foot tap.

Then the rest of the leg gets involved.

Before I know it, both legs are similarly compromised

And I’m involuntarily engaged in a two-step.

Slowly side to side.

Shifting my weight alternately on one leg then the other.

Soon, it’s no longer subtle or slow.

There’s a wild stomping going on with both legs.

Not to be outdone, my fingers are snapping.

Hands, a-clapping.

Torso swaying.

I have been mesmerized.

He does it to me every time.

And it’s not like I’m NOT trying to dance.

Why would I be up in the club if I was?

But I’m just saying.

Why you do me like that Rich?

Once, after a particularly raucous set, I had to take a moment to collect myself.

Rich had me going IN on the dance floor.

I was sweating, dreads all wacked out, and I had to catch my breath.

As soon as I had found a spot to cop a squat, there he goes again.

Water, no get enemy…

Water, no got enemy…

And I’m back.

The horns were calling me.

Body all twitching and jerking – of it’s own volition and against my entreaties to remain at rest.

Why this diatribe about Rich Medina’s hypnotic DJing skills?

Because on Friday, April 6th, he and Mark Hines (a guy with similar effects on the eyeballs) are playing at DROM.

The event, Scored & Jump N Funk Presents: The AfroBeatles, is an evening not to be missed.

Just in case you think I’m full of shit, read how DROM describes the night

SCORED & JUMP’N FUNK present the AfroBeatles bringing together an evening of live scoring with rare footage of Fela Kuti and The Beatles with narratives woven from The Beatles acapellas and African cinema. The indelible, DJ, producer, and poet, RICH MEDINA will be hosting and narrating this night of fresh “off-the-wall” music, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”

So if you like the Beatles…

Or if you dig Fela Kuti…

Or if you’re a fan of live scoring…

Or if you’re into choreographed dance routines…

Or if you simply like hanging out in the city with cool folks…

Then DROM is where you need to be Friday night.

It costs $10 to get in.

But it’ll be well worth it.

Give me a shout if you come.

You’ll probably find me on the dance floor somewhere…

In a trance.

Click the image for a treat.

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Filed under branding, opinion, Smack talking