Tracklist

Versions (18)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
EMI (LP) 008N Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa '70* Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa '70* - Shakara(LP, Album) EMI EMI (LP) 008N Nigeria 1972 Sell This Version
5C 062-81718 Fela Ransome-Kuti* & The Africa '70* Fela Ransome-Kuti* & The Africa '70* - Shakara(LP, Album) EMI 5C 062-81718 Netherlands 1973 Sell This Version
2 C 062-81718 Fela Ransome Kuti* & The Africa'70* Fela Ransome Kuti* & The Africa'70* - Lady Shakara(LP, Album) EMI 2 C 062-81718 France 1974 Sell This Version
EM 23.05 Fela* And The Africa 70* Fela* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP) Editions Makossa EM 23.05 US 1974 Sell This Version
EM 23.05 Fela* And The Africa 70* Fela* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP, Album) Editions Makossa EM 23.05 US 1974 Sell This Version
ELD-02.21.213 Fela* And The Africa 70* Fela* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP, Album) EMI ELD-02.21.213 Peru 1974 Sell This Version
2 C 062-81718 Fela Ransome Kuti* Lady / Shakara(LP, Album) EMI 2 C 062-81718 France 1975 Sell This Version
CRLP 501 Fela* And The Africa 70* Fela* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP) Creole Records CRLP 501 UK 1975 Sell This Version
1817184 Fela Ransome Kuti* And The Africa 70* Fela Ransome Kuti* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(Cass, Album) EMI 1817184 France 1985 Sell This Version
1817181 Fela* And The Africa 70* Fela* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP, Album, RE) EMI 1817181 France 1985 Sell This Version
547 028 - 1 Fela* And The Africa 70* Fela* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP, Album, RE, RM) Kalakuta 547 028 - 1 France 1997 Sell This Version
KFR-1004 Fela* And The Africa 70* Fela* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(CD, Album, RE) Knitting Factory Records KFR-1004 US 2010 Sell This Version
KFR2027-1 Fela* And The Africa 70* Fela* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP, Album) Knitting Factory Records KFR2027-1 US 2014 Sell This Version
KFR2027-1 Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa '70* Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa '70* - Shakara(LP, Album, RE, 180) Knitting Factory Records KFR2027-1 US 2016 Sell This Version
LPEA 1002 Fela Ransome Kuti* & His Africa 70* Fela Ransome Kuti* & His Africa 70* - Lady(LP, Album) EMI LPEA 1002 Kenya Unknown Sell This Version
NCA 271 Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa '70* Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa '70* - Shakara(Cass, Album, Unofficial) NCA (2) NCA 271 Unknown Sell This Version
EMI (LP) 008N Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa 70* Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP, Album) His Master's Voice EMI (LP) 008N Ghana Unknown Sell This Version
EMI (LP) 008N Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa 70* Fela Ransome-Kuti* And The Africa 70* - Shakara(LP, Album, Blu) His Master's Voice EMI (LP) 008N Ghana Unknown Sell This Version

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streetmouse

streetmouse

October 28, 2018
referencing Shakara, LP, EM 23.05

A Great Album That Should Probably Never Have Existed ...

First coming to most people’s attention with his collaboration on the Talking Heads’ album Remain In Light, along with the David Byrne and Brian Eno outing My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts and then with the David Byrne solo release The Catherine Wheel, most people were totally unaware of Fela’s influence on the early works of Brian Eno, thinking that somehow Eno, a musical alchemist for sure, had concocted those amazing sounds all on his own.

With Shakara (Oloje) being recorded in 1971, Fela (Fela Ransome Kuti) was lightyears ahead of his time, with the album consisting of but two songs (recorded live), where for all intent and purposes, Shakara (Oloje) has to be one of the most shimmering and delightful records ever made, certainly leaning toward the jam side of the spectrum, filled with polyrhythmic tonalities and dazzling easily understood complexities that rise like smoke from a burning fire, dancing with the lightness of emancipation and brilliance on an unfelt breeze while seeming to unveil itself over and over again, as if one door leads to another, all guided by a the mystic hand of things which can only be described as Afrocentic.

Afrocentric is but one of a variety of identities for Fela’s music, where one could easily imply Afrobeat, funk, jazz, soul and even psychedelic, all encased within traditional West African rhythms and chants, music that’s set free by intoxicating drumming, that unlike in rock n’ roll or even jazz, holds a much more prominent and decisive place within its formulation and structure of endless wandering grooves that are fueled on by melodic interlacing riffs that build slowly, often appreciating the philosophy of two steps forward, one step back.

Shakara (Oloje) is not so much music to get lost in, but rather to give yourself over to. This is visionary music, where the sounds and call-backs will weave their way into your soul. While holding all of the above in mind, the music is rather tragic in the same breath, especially as listeners simmer along with the song “Lady,” only to discover that with all of its emancipation and vastness, its purely and simply a chastisement of African women who Fela saw as becoming far too Westernized with their embrace of feminist values and equal rights, where even if delivered with humor, the intent of the number is to keep women in their place, and of course exploit them in National Geographic fashion on the album jacket. This all stands in sharp juxtaposition to the number “Shakara (Oloje),” which essentially chastises yet again, though this time pointing a finger and mocking African leaders, who were nothing more than loudmouth and pompous bullies who were unable or unwilling to make good on their hollow boasts, sung in both English and traditional Yoruba.

Regardless, even with Fela’s outdated and objectionable values toward women, both of these thirteen minute tracks are infectious and totally irresistible.

This of course brings me to the nature of the song “Lady” and its place in society today, causing me to question whether as evolved people, we should be listening to an artist who (certainly at a time) was not only holding, but openly expressing misogynistic views and values, values whose walls women are still fighting against today. Would we sing outdated songs about black Americans remaining on the farm anymore than we’d define African women as servants for a polygamist (which Fela was)? Or should this album be relegated to the history books? On the other hand, with vocal deliveries being such as they are to English speaking ears, perhaps that message gets lost in the music and translation … leading me to question the value of the music if it’s message is not understood. It is difficult to unlearn facts, it’s also impossible not to acknowledge the beauty regarding the buildings constructed in Nazi Germany, though I for one would certainly not choose to live in one. Can we? Should we define and criticize music along these same lines? It’s a difficult question to ask, and certainly a difficult one to answer, though at this time, I think I’m going to have to put this number aside. Of course the larger question that rises, would be our persistent tolerance for any artist who espouses and presents values that are detrimental to any faction of society? Now I’m sincerely struggling, because it’s always been one of my core values to suggest that to be part of a negative attitude in any manner, is to support that value, and give it credence.

Brian Eno said, ”I remember the first time I listened (to Fela) and how taken I was. My friend Robert Wyatt (an experimental jazz artist) called it ‘Jazz from another planet,’ where instantly I thought that I understood the conceptual point of jazz, which until then had been an almost alien music for me.” Without a doubt, I have to question whether Eno understood the nature of the musical context and the values expressed. I would suggest that as a lifetime collector of varied and intense pornography of a historic and contemporary nature along with the fact that this indicates an objectification of women, which he refers to as an addiction, the answer is probably yes.

So I continue to struggle …

Review by Jenell Kesler