Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

Fela: Return of the Afrobeat Rebel

Randall Grass, Musician, October 1983

KANO, NIGERIA, 1974: Sitting in the midst of a spacious, immaculate patio surrounded by manicured shrubbery and the graceful curved stone-and-glass walls of a post-modern restaurant, it was easy to forget that a few feet away beggars squatted in the dust, a few blocks away women carried buckets of cistern-water on their heads through an ancient walled city, and a few miles away nomads in cloaks herded their cattle and turbanned desert-men led lines of camels. In the garden, elegant women and men — Europeans, Africans, Asians and Arabs, spiffily garbed in gowns, suits, and traditional cloaks — sipped cool drinks brought by deferential waiters.

Total word count of piece: 2635


Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.