The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions (1969)

Knitting Factory Records


  • The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions (1969)
  • The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions (1969)

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The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions

The ’69 Los Angeles Session recordings were a collection of songs that reflect Fela’s musical and political evolution, from a musician entertainer with a style of music called ‘highlife jazz’ to a fighter of a black cause with music as a weapon. Coming to America, he overestimated the power of his ‘highlife jazz’ style of music. He forgot that America expected something more authentic from an African band than jazz—of which America has produced the greatest maestro. Fela recounts his experience: “My American tour in 1969 was a turning point in my way of thinking and approach to life. America is a great country, it made me jealous that we don’t have today that kind of greatness in our country. It was also in America that I was exposed for the first time to a lot of black history—that background knowledge about Africa which I did not have before. I was exposed to the teachings of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and also the Black Panther Party.” With a new thinking, he realized he had to write and arrange his music in a way more relevant to the environment he came from—something with the African background. During rehearsals in Los Angeles, after smoking a joint (Marijuana) for the first time, he said he heard this heavy bass line vibrating in his head in the for mof sakara (apala rhythm), a traditional Yoruba music from the West of Nigeria. The result: My Lady Frustration, an instrumental piece. Dedicated to the lady who stood by him during his evolution in the US and who felt frustrated with all the problems encountered by Fela in his musical search for greener pastures. Finally finding his feet, he wrote this song as a tribute to her. Viva Nigeria, written in his new style of music called :’Afrobeat’ is about the Biafra civil war going on in Nigeria and calling on Nigerians to unite and resolve their differences in more amicable ways than war. Other titles from these sessions are songs talking about social issues: Obe!(soup), Ako!(Braggart), Lover, and Witchcraft sung in Yoruba language. The last song, This Is Sad, is a nostalgic piece expressing his longing to return to his family after a long absence from them. In a homesick manner, he wishes the witchcraft would bring him home.

- Mabinuori Kayode Idowu


07. My Lady Frustration
08. Viva Nigeria
09. Obe
10. Ako
11. Witchcraft
12. Wayo (2nd Version)
13. Lover
14. Funky Horn
15. Eko
16. This is Sad

CD Version includes "Koola Lobitos"
01. Highlife Time
02. Omuti Tide
03. Ololufe Mi
04. Wadele Wa Rohin
05. Laise Lairo
06. Wayo (1st Version)

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