Fela Biography

It is about the life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a Nigerian musician. He was born on July 11, 1938, in Abeokuta, Nigeria. His father died when he was young, and his mother had to work to support the family. He went to school in Lagos and later moved to England to study music. 

Further, he got inspiration from American jazz musicians like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Finally, in 1966, he returned to Nigeria and founded the Africa Shrine. 

In 1970, he moved to the U.S. and formed the Fela R.F.C. The group performed in New York City, and Fela decided that he wanted to start his record label. He recorded several albums, and they were trendy. 

Fela's music was very political and a part of his Afrobeat style. His music was very influential to many musicians.

Fela Kuti: Biography, Music, Life & More

He was the son of Umeje Fagbayi and Achebe, both of whom were Baptist church members. His family was of the Igbo ethnic group.

Fela was born into a family of seven children in Udu town, Delta State. Fela's father died when he was four years old, and as his mother had to take care of the family, she could not send him to school. 

Besides this, he learned to play music from his older brother, who lived with his aunt after the death of his parents. When he was 14 years old, his uncle moved to Lagos, and Fela began playing his first song, "It Was A Good Day."

He started his music career by learning the violin in 1952. In 1960, he was a member of the Kalakuta Republic band, one of Africa's biggest and most well-known bands.

More so, he started his music career in 1958 as the drummer of the group Africa Shrine. After a couple of months in the band, he decided to join another group called Niger State Police. 

Moreover, in 1960, he founded his African Drums group, where he played a variety of rhythms. He later founded the Afrobeat band, King Sunny Ade, in 1965, for which he played the rhythm guitar and became a famous musician.

After the Kalakuta Republic, he joined the Africa Shrine Orchestra and then the Africa Shrine Choir, where he met drummer Tony Allen who became his right hand and later joined him in the band that would become his band, Egypt 80.

Fela had been performing around Lagos and the Yoruba areas since the mid-1960s, including a stint with a local group called Ibadan Shrines. 

After the release of Africa Forever in 1967, he released the album Africa Forever Again in 1970. During this period, Fela wrote and produced the songs "Onimisi" and "Bring Your Love," which brought him fame.

In 1967, he started his band, the Pharaohs, as a musical answer to the Shrines. The Pharaohs soon became popular and were invited to play the festival, and the Lagos State Government sponsored all Nigeria Concert. The concert was a huge success and earned Fela fame and fortune.

The Pharaohs released their first single, "Eko Mi Oke," in 1968. It was followed by two more singles, "Afe Mina" and "Todo olelo." In 1971, the band went to live in a farmhouse that they had bought in Ojodu. Fela took his band to the United States and Europe the following year.

Fela started to produce albums and hire American and European musicians for the band. His next album was titled Nigeria 66. After that, he recorded the song "Kukurantumi," featured in the movie Black Girl. His songs "Egbe" and "Babaluku" were also featured in the movie. Atlantic Records released the soundtrack of the film in 1971. 

Fela wrote and composed the songs "Egbe" and "Sodajabe," which he sang in the movie. "Egbe" was one of the most famous songs in the film. The song "Babaluku" won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1977. In 1977, Fela also produced a double album of music titled Africa. The album featured songs such as "My Lord!", "Eya!" and "Woman and Man."

The following year, Fela's band played in Italy. During the tour, he met the singer Yolanda Sissoko. 

  • In 1982, Fela released a single titled "No Compromise." The song contained lyrics from the Bible and was a message of protest against the Nigerian military regime. That same year, Fela was arrested. In jail, he spent nine months. The Pharaohs disbanded at the end of 1983 because of political differences.
  • In the 1990s, he made a comeback with Egypt 80. Then, at the beginning of the new millennium, he moved to the United States and released another album, No Longer a Stranger, in 2005. Fela had been working on a final album to be released in 2010, titled Afiegeni.

Unfortunately, Fela died in a car crash in Lagos in December 2007. He was buried at Elegushi, Ikeja, Lagos.


Fela is one of the most influential musicians of all time. He was born in 1938 in Nigeria, and his music has influenced many other musicians.


1. Why is the Fela biography critical?

The Fela biography is essential because it is an excellent insight into the life of Fela Kuti. It gives a lot of information about his life and what he did in his career. It also talks about his music and how he influenced other musicians. 

2. What did Fela do for the rest of his life?

After he died, Fela's family took over his music company and started the Africa Shrine Foundation. They are still working to preserve his music.

3. Who is Fela Kuti?

Fela Kuti was born on July 15, 1938, in Abeokuta, Nigeria. He is one of the most influential musicians in African music history.

4. How did he get started?

Fela started in the music industry when he joined a band in the late 1950s.

5. What is his song "Zombie" about?

The song is about a man who has lost his wife. He goes to the cemetery to visit her grave and discovers that she has been turned into a zombie.

6. What is his song "Fela's Lament" about?

This song is about Fela's friend who has died.

7. What is the best song by Fela Kuti?

The best song by Fela Kuti is "Zombie."