During the burial ceremony of FELA ANIKULAPO-KUTI in August 1997, almost a million Nigerians participated in the funeral procession - a seven kilometre march from TAFAWA BALEWA SQUARE on the Lagos Island to his residence in Ikeja on the Lagos mainland. An entire nation rendered homage not only to an exceptional musician and creator of Afrobeat, but also an untiring combatant for the dignity of Black people.
FELABRATION FESTIVAL since 1999 is an annual event of music and arts taking place at the New Africa Shrine in Lagos Nigeria, to commemorate the life and times of Nigeria’s foremost musical icon Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. As part of the festival’s programme a carnival procession is organised annually to re-create the atmosphere of the funeral procession of 1997. Due to security concerns from the government and logistic reasons, Felabration carnival has since been reduced to cover Ikeja, Ojota, Maryland and Agidingbi areas of Lagos (see map).
What is the state of AFROBEAT MUSIC today in Nigeria more than a decade after the demise of its originator? What impact has it world-wide as protest music? To answer these questions, we in Radio Shrine took a trip to Nigeria in October 2009 to participate in the program that we consider to reflect the roots – the phenomenon that gave birth to afrobeat.