Fela Kuti, or simply known as Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist who pioneered Afrobeat music and was known for being a human rights activist.
Obviously the man had long history, but the most important bits you should know was that he was also a bit of a political leader. He even formed his own commune called Kalakuta Republic, declaring itself independent from the Nigerian state. After his release of his hit album, Zombie in 1977 (which brutality criticized the Nigerian military), the government responded by attacking his commune. His mother was murdered and Fela's music master tapes were destroyed in this attack. Fela, himself, was beaten almost to death. Throughout the 80s and early 90s, Fela was arrested on various reasons, but all political motivated.
Fela passed away at the age of 58*, but his influence and music are still felt today, with the Broadway music show, and, just announced, the "Movement of the People" parties, celebrating human rights. Details of the "Movement of the People" (M.O.P.) shows are listed below. You can get Fela CDs, buttons and posters, by simply attending:
05.28.11 - The New Empowering Church - London, UK
06.01.11 - Global Soul - Chicago, IL
06.04.11 - Burlington's Discover Jazz Festival - Burlington, VT
06.06.11 - The Fla - Houston, TX
06.09.11 - Brick & Mortar Music Hall - San Francisco, CA
If you don't live near those venues, you get involved and create your own M.O.P. party by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting fela.net/files/mop for instructions and downloads on various stencils. I am doing my part by this article, as well as including his 37 minute track "M.O.P. (Movement Of The People) Political Statement Number 1" (via soundcloud.com). I did get a chance to listen to it, it has a weird 'funk' feeling in the beginning and then the Africana chants steps to give it a more 'world music' rhythm. Fela actually doesn't even sing until nearly 16 minutes in, so it's quite a buildup.
* I thought for sure that the government was behind his death, but he ultimately died of heart failure due to A.I.D.S. (this information is taken from thetalkingdrum.com).
Not really sure why, but Foster the People's name have been coming up a lot lately. Sally said they're on JJJ's hot band and I did end up spending some time with their debut album, Torches, while I was editing the podcast. The more I listen to such dancey groove like "Helena Beat" and "Pumped Up Kicks", I realized that they remind me a lot of MGMT. Whoever is writing their songs, they know how to write catchy songs.
Torches came out last Tuesday on StarTime International/Columbia Records, and already the buzz is amazing. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live doing their big, big hit, "Pumped Up Kicks". Which, incidentally, had a different album mix than the EP version that I've heard. In other Foster news, they've just had a piece on Spin Magazine and MTV's Push Artist of the Week.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about, I suggest you get your concert tickets now, many of their shows are sold-out. See details below.
5/30 George, WA Sasquatch ** SOLD OUT
5/31 Vancouver, BC Venue ** SOLD OUT
6/1 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom ** SOLD OUT
6/2 Sacramento, CA Harlows
6/3 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl
6/5 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amp
6/7 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
6/8 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
6/10 Lawrence, KS Bottleneck
6 /11 Minneapolis, MN Fine Line
6/12 Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall ** SOLD OUT
6/13 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
6/14 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
6/16 Boston, MA House of Blues
6/17 Montreal, QC Club Lambi
6/18 Toronto, ON The Mod Club
6/20 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall ** SOLD OUT
6/21 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom ** SOLD OUT
6/22 Washington DC 9:30 Club
6/28 Philadelphia, PA TLA
6/29 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
6/30 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
7/1 Houston TX Warehouse Live
7/2 Austin, TX Emos ** SOLD OUT
7/3 Dallas, TX The Loft
7/5 Tucson, AZ Club Congress
7/6 San Diego, CA House of Blues
7/7 Los Angeles, CA El Rey ** SOLD OUT
7/8 Los Angeles, CA El Rey ** SOLD OUT
8/11 Brooklyn, NY Prospect Park
Nat Baldwin: Weights
A few years ago, we saw that Dirty Projectors' keyboardist, Deradoorian, branched out on some solo material, this year we see their bassist, Nat Baldwin, releasing People Changes. The album just came out last Tuesday, May 24th on Western Vinyl. As the label's name suggest, this company specialized in releasing vinyls of new music, but, of course, you can still pick up albums on CD and digital MP3s. I believe most of their vinyls also comes with an MP3 coupon, which is the right thing to do, in my opinion.
I don't have the liner notes for this album, but it sounds to me really double bass heavy, which probably shouldn't surprise anyone since Baldwin plays the double bass. Lots of chaos and experimental scratches on "Real Fakes" and crazy saxophones (?) on "Lifted" suggests to me that they have freestyle jazz influences behind them. Overall Nat Baldwin's sweet calming vocals and lyrics ground these songs in a weird folk-pop music.
I feel like these songs on the album were designed to be performed live, so it should be interesting to check him out in person. Too bad, he's not going anywhere near the Mid-West, but if you are on the East Coast and Canada, see below:
Jun 20, 2011 Washington DC Rock and Roll Hotel *
Jun 22, 2011 Cambridge MA TT The Bear's*
Jun 23, 2011 Montreal QC II Motore*
Jul 7, 2011 Portland ME One Longfellow Square+
Jul 21, 2011 Buffalo NY The Ninth Ward
Jul 23, 2011 Hamilton ON Casbah Lounge
Jul 24, 2011 Cleveland OH Beachland Tavern+
Jul 26, 2011 Pittsburgh PA Brillobox+
Jul 28, 2011 Philadelphia PA World Cafe Live+
Jul 31, 2011 Sackville NB Sappy Fest
* with Chad Van Gaalen
+ with Callers
Finally, Get People is from London, they have an EP called Rain Tears coming out June 6th, and you can grab the free track "Away" on Soundcloud
The note I have is that they are a trio, consisting of Dom, Caspar and Martin, and has a "tribal-infused, dance pop music" sound. They have also remixed other artists, including semi-famous UK acts like Is Tropical, Mystery Jets, Morning Parade and The Wombats (whom they have played live with on tour).
This Summer, they will be doing a string of music festivals, including the Isle of Wight, V Festival and Burning Man. Details below:
May 29, 2011 - Dot To Dot - Nottingham, Bristol, Manchester
May 30, 2011 - Dot To Dot - Nottingham, Bristol, Manchester
Jun 2, 2011 - Trinity Theatre - Tunbridge wells, London
Jun 11, 2011 - Isle of Wight Festival - Isle of Wight
Jul 30, 2011 - Farr Festival - Newnham
Aug 19, 2011 - V Festival North - Weston, Staffordsh
Aug 20, 2011 - V Festival South - Hylands Park, Chelmsford
Aug 29, 2011 - BURNING MAN - BLACK ROCK CITY, Nevada