Fela Kuti

Nigerian musician and activist (1938–1997)

Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), or just Fela, was a Nigerian musician and composer who was very important in a genre called afrobeat. He played the saxophone, guitar, drums, keyboards and trumpet, and he sang. He was also a human rights activist.[1] The American singer James Brown said that Kuti was one of the originators (starters) of the funk genre.

Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti in 1970
Fela Kuti in 1970
Background information
Birth nameOlufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti
Born(1938-10-15)15 October 1938
Abeokuta, Nigeria
OriginAbeokuta, Nigeria
Died2 August 1997(1997-08-02) (aged 58)
Lagos, Nigeria
Occupation(s)musician, activist
Years active1958–1997

Kuti died in 1997 of Kaposi's sarcoma, an illness caused by AIDS.[2] In 2008 a musical production called Fela! was created, about Kuti's life and career.


  1. Seattle Weekly: Barack Obama and the Original First Black President, archived from the original on 2009-07-17, retrieved 2009-07-17
  2. Farber, Jim (2009-11-21), "Fela Kuti: as Broadway musical 'Fela!' set to open, everything you need to know of Afrobeat legend", New York Daily News, archived from the original on 2009-11-27, retrieved 2009-12-27