Highlife-Jazz and Afro-Soul (1963 - 1969)

Knitting Factory Records


This product is currently sold out.

Fela Kuti & His Koola Lobitos - Highlife-Jazz and Afro-Soul (1963 - 1969)

The release of this collection of Fela Ransome-Kuti's pre-Afrobeat music is a major event for fans of both Fela's music and African popular music in general. Many of these recordings were thought to be lost forever. What little has been known of Fela's highlife period has been largely due to the efforts of Mr. Benson Idonije, Fela's early manager and long-time proponent of his highlife music. With the recordings' sound quality now much improved, this comprehensive collection gives an overview into a period when one of Africa's finest musicians was attempting to find a style of his own. Thanks to the efforts of the dedicated record collectors who assembled this triple-disc compilation, a crucial and fascinating chapter of Fela's career is finally available to African music enthusiasts around the world.

When Fela Ransome-Kuti returned to Nigeria in 1963 after four years at London's Trinity College of Music, he had dreams of becoming a successful modern jazz musician in the tradition established by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. Fela's first documented recordings were with the Fela Ransome-Kuti Quintet, which included Fela on trumpet, Don Amaechi on guitar, Sid Moss on piano, Emmanual Ngomalio on bass, and John Bull on drums. That band is represented on two selections here: "Great Kids" & "Amaechi's Blues"

On this compilation, we hear Fela and the band working through a fairly traditional highlife model on tracks such as "Bonfo" and "Fere," which stick close to the traditional sound of dance-band highlife. There are strongly Cuban-inflected tracks such as "Ajo," and the transplanted soul stylings of "Wa Dele." We also get to hear some music that is essentially Afrobeat in style, despite the fact that Fela hadn't coined the term at this point.

- Michael E. Veal, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Yale University


1. Bonfo
2. Fere
3. Onifere No. 2
4. Oyejo
5. Oloruka
6. Awo
7. Great Kids
8. Amaechi’s Blues
9. Yese
10. Egbin
11. Orise
12. Eke
13. V.C. 7
14. I Know Your Feeling

1. Signature Tune
2. It’s Highlife Time
3. Lagos Baby
4. Omuti
5. Ololufe
6. Araba’s Delight
7. Wa Dele
8. Lai Se
9. Mi O Mo
10. Obinrin Le
11. Omo Ejo

1. Everyday I Got My Blues (Live)
2. Moti Gbrokan (Live)
3. Waka Waka (Live)
4. Ako (Live)
5. Ororuka (Live)
6. Lai Se (Live)
7. Onidodo
8. Ajo
10. Abiara
11. Se E Tun De
12. Waka Waka
13. My Baby Don Love Me
14. Home Cooking

Share this

Pin Post Plus