Alexandre Girard-Muscagorry is curator of non-Western musical and cultural heritage at the Musée de la musique. His research as an art historian focuses on the intersection between art and politics in Sub-Saharan Africa in the colonial and post-colonial context.
Mabinuori Kayode Idowu (ID) met Fela Kuti in 1974. Co-founder of the Young African Pioneers and co-editor of YAP News, he was heavily involved in organizing the musician’s concerts, recordings and partnerships until the mid-1980s. He has written several books on Fela, including Fela: Why Blackman Carry Shit (1997), translated into French, Italian and Japanese, and Fela: Phenomenon & Legacy (2013).
Mathilde Thibault-Starzyk earned her degree in art history and museology at the École du Louvre and has worked on several Musée de la musique exhibitions, notably as production manager for Barbara (2018) and associate curator for Charlie Chaplin, one-man band (2019-2020).
Sodi Marciszewer is an artistic director, sound engineer and mixer. He has collaborated on the last six Fela albums, produced most of Femi Kuti's albums and the first album of Màdé Kuti. His eclecticism and musical curiosity have led him to work with IAM, Rachid Taha, Chinese Man, El Gusto Orchestra, Keziah Jones, Les Têtes Raides, Mano Negra...
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‘Music is the weapon of the future’: Fela Kuti’s famous words continue to resonate today and offer a fitting slogan for his work’s place in posterity.
After his beginnings in Nigeria and London, Fela Kuti became a global figure in the mid-1970s and toured internationally until his death in 1997. His legacy is omnipresent throughout the world, both musically and politically.
The musical style he created and named Afrobeat mixes Yoruba rhythms, free jazz, soul and jazz funk. The exhibition closely blends Fela’s energy and musical creativity with his political thinking, in a itinerary that gives a central place to the city of Lagos and the Shrine – nerve centre of Fela’s music in Lagos.
Throughout his career, Fela turned his lifestyle into a political manifesto. His controversial lifestyle, his stand against elite corruption and neo-colonialism continues to inspire struggles in Nigeria and beyond. Fela’s costumes from Nigeria are presented for the first time, as well as numerous photographs and unpublished archives that offer an insight into the Lagos universe of the “Black President”.
The show has been conceived with the support of the family but also with many actors of Fela’s life ; Mabinuori Kayode Idowu (ID), who was his right-hand man for many years, and Sodi Marciszewer, who accompanied Fela on his last albums.