Fela Kuti & Roy Ayers / Upside Down – Music of Many Colours

Science dropped by Martini & Jopparelli. Mar-03-2007


Army Arrangement

As you probably have noticed, here at Musicselections we like to post about different type of music. Ok I will never post about Metal or Punk :) , but believe me, I am always willing to discover new artists and new sounds.


In this days I am approaching the world of the great Fela Kuti, the Black President. As I am new to this, I am not going to talk about his incredible life. Just check this wikipedia summary of his life events to have an idea of how big he was. 

Between the early ‘70s and his 1992 retirement from recording, Fela and his groups Africa 70 and Egypt 80 recorded a new album every few months. In his early years albums were made by 2 songs. One 15 minute song on one side and one on the other. Later this turned in “one half hour song” split in two sides. Most of this songs were never made available outside Nigeria. There is a story that say that if you want to find most of the album by the Afrobeat king Fela Anikulapo Kuti, you have to go to the record store at the main bus station in Lagos.

Musically specking this is a two for one CD. The first song, my favorite one, is Upside down, a quiet long track with several minutes of instrumental before the lyrics enter. The girl who sing is Sandra Isodore, the one who had introduced him in to the Black Panthers. It’s an outstanding funk jam which literary drag you in another dimension. Get high and you will see! It’s one of the funkiest riffs Fela ever wrote.

Then we have Go Slow, another nice track about traffic jam in Lagos so not that lyrically conscious as the first track but equally dope..

The third and the fourth tracks are played with Roy Ayers. Yes, Roy Ayers,  another legend! Third track is 2000 blacks got to be free, a Roy Ayers joint which is not as great as the first two tunes but is still averange.

Last tune is again a Fela’s song with Roy playing  and giving his touch. 

I am not an expert of Fela Kuti music but I definitely like it. If anybody of you is really into his massive production, please let me know, as suggestions on what to listen are always welcome.


No Responses to “Fela Kuti & Roy Ayers / Upside Down – Music of Many Colours”

  1. cedric says:

    First thank’s for your blog and sharing like this such a good music.

    Second, j’m not a specialist of fela but the best tracks of fela in my opinion are shakara, nigerian afro beat,sorrow tears and blood and the best track whith fela and roy ayers is black family, a realy good fusion between funk and afrobeat with many vibraphoneand groove.

    Third sorry for my english i’m french.

    forth i shared whith you my little french blog about black music

  2. [...] you remember my old post about Fela Kuti? (Check here for a quick refresh). That was my first step into Fela’s world. Now, after almost three months, I have done few more [...]

  3. Cassio says:

    Fantastico Bravi!

    Sono Brasiliano e da tanto cercavo della roba dei film di Lenzi Milano , roma, torino violenta etc qui nei tropici

    Se avete delle altre link con della roba nello stile di beretta 70 fatemi sapere..


  4. DEAN says:

    the video is really nice, i love afro beat and have got loads of fels’s music on my ipod and i listen to them almost everyday, keep up the good work

  5. jonny says:

    I am neither a fela knowledge fountain, nor am i totally in tune to the political motives for his music, however i am a massive fan of the afrobeat sound and have been for around 2 years since hearing Fela’s “water got no enemy”, i first heard this in a basement club at around 3am on a sunday morning. It was a revelation, the driving drum beat and powerful horn section. I was sold.
    Since then i have bought a few Fela albums including black president from 1981 which features the amazing “international thief thief”, and Army Arrangement from 1985 which again captures the egypt 80 sound so perfectly.

    Is always hard to know where to start looking when discovering a new musical genre as the record shops and online sites are awash with so much music, it can be difficult finding the decent stuff and filtering out the crap, however, if its true afrobeat your looking for then look into the works of Tony Allen, he was the original drummer for Africa 70 and also was integral in creating the afrobeat sound.

    Finally if you want a good introduction to many other artists then try and hunt down a copy of the Ghana sounds vol 1 & 2, these are 2 amazing double lp comps featuring music from the likes of K.Frimpong, Oscar Sulley, Rob plus many more and definatley worth a check.

  6. Hi Jonny

    Thanks for your clever comment.

    In the next days i will post a review on Nigeria Special made by Timjim from http://nigeriaspecial.info/

    Stay tuned

  7. themusicologist says:

    BIG fan of Fela…a true musical giant. There are too many great tunes of his to list off the top of my head but a few favourites are

    Sorrow Tears & Blood, (threw down on themusicologist a while back)
    Equalisation Of Trousers & Pants
    Water Get No Enemy
    Expensive Shit

    great blog by the way..keep it up

  8. [...] am too busy at the moment to do a proper review but this is something you have to see. His father has been probably one of the best performer of all time imho and that is why I don’t want to [...]

  9. [...] Gangster” remix project, called “Nigerian Gangster”, entirely based on Fela Kuti samples. His remix of “Roc Boys (And the winner is)” gained props from DJs and [...]

  10. Triesje says:

    I’ve seen Seun Kuti perform twice in the Netherlands.

    Outstanding performance!

    If you have the chance, you really should try a concert.

  11. I saw Seun Kuti two months ago in Turin and it was awesome, you are right!


    Thanks to stop by.