Fela Kuti

EBET ROBERTS / REDFERNS-MUSICPICTURES.COM

KING OF AFROBEAT: Kuti took on Nigeria's military rulers with revolutionary music

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was an unlikely opposition leader. A musical mastermind who once married 27 women on the same day in an idiosyncratic protest at government harassment, he was compulsive and rebellious, a kind of gifted and outspoken teenager who never quite grew up. But in the dark days of military rule in Nigeria in the 1970s, perhaps a musician who made people groove and smile was exactly the right figure to take on Africa's autocratic and corrupt leaders.

It helped that his revolutionary soundtrack was so damn good. Fela — fans always called him by his...

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