FELABRATION 2017: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AFROBEAT AND AFROBEATS COME TO FORE AGAIN
AHEAD of this year’s edition of Felabration scheduled to hold between October 9 and October 15, 2017, the debate between Afrobeat created by the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Afrobeats which refers to popular music by Nigerian and other African hip hop artistes continue to rage. But this difference does not just lie in the ‘S.’
At the press conference to announce activities to mark Felabration 2017 which has as its theme, ‘The Prophecy’, the debate came up again with Fela’s daughter, Yeni Kuti, saying that Afrobeats is nothing but hip hop.
But Yeni said; “For me, Afrobeat is Afrobeat. Hip hop is hip hop. I call it Naija Afro pop. They call it Afrobeats.”
“The work that goes into the composition of Afrobeat is very different to the work that goes into the composition of hip hop. I’m sorry I can’t call it Afrobeats. I love the music but I have to call it Nigeria afro pop. Please, that’s the difference.”
Yeni also added that she always corrected this anytime she has the opportunity.
“When they (Trace) interviewed me, I told them it’s not Afrobeats ooo. It’s Nigeria Afro pop. I always make sure I tell them because Fela has given me a few knocks because of this matter.”
However, Trace Nigeria managing director, Sam Onyemelukwe, said that no one denies that Fela founded Afrobeat.
“You cannot speak about Afrobeats without acknowledging and I don’t think anybody tries to speak about Afrobeats without acknowledging the roots of it to be Fela himself.”
Onyemelukwe who disclosed his station is set to air a documentary on the evolution of Afrobeat titled ‘Nigeria To The World’ said: “The fact is that a huge population around the world are calling our new strain of music coming out of young Nigerians Afrobeats. And we have chosen to interpret that in a positive way while acknowledging very clearly and repeatedly the difference between Afrobeat and the fact that the world is now calling Wizkid and Tecno songs as Afrobeats. You know that the tag line of our channel is ‘we love Afrobeats.’ And we’ll continue to highlight that difference. What we don’t want is for the youths, the young movement of music to lose the power of what Afrobeat is, what people make that connection to.”
Onyemelukwe also said the documentary would give some of Fela’s offsprings – Yeni, Femi and Seun – an opportunity to air their opinions. Onyemelukwe however said during an interview, Femi Kuti said he “has agreed that we can also use Afrobeat as long as we acknowledge the root.”
Yeni however, held on to her view and said she’ll have to call Femi about it.
Adding his voice to the debate, Dr Dotun Ransome Kuti said, “the music being played today, whetehr we like it or not, has its origin from Afrobeat. It is not oyinbo style. It is African style and that African style has to originate from somewhere.”
He continued explaining that, “and from Afroobeat, you have Afrojazz, you have Afropop, you have also Afro-highlife. Everything came from Afrobeat. And that Afrobeat was created by Fela Anikulapo Kuti.”
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