On February 18, 1977, Kalakuta Republic, the Lagos communal home of Fela Kuti, was burned to the ground by Nigerian soldiers, causing the death of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, the Afrobeat pioneer’s mother.
The attack on Kalakuta Republic was sparked off by Fela’s 1976 protest song, ‘Zombie’, which derided Nigeria’s ruling class: the military.
In the song, Fela refers to Nigerian soldiers as zombie, singing “Zombie no go walk unless you tell am to walk” – a scathing rebuke of the military. The fiery and provocative song rattled the then military head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo.
More than 40 years after it was originally released, Zombie will now be put out as part of an eight-track cartridge to be re-released by Knitting Factory Records, Kalakuta Sunrise and Partisan Records on December 7.
In describing Zombie’s re-release, author Mabinuori Kayode Idowu, writes that Fela “narrates the military in motion comparing their orientation to the Zombie, without minds of their own. Fela paid a big price for this bold condemnation of the military institution.
“One thousand members of the Nigerian army attacked and burnt down his house after the release of the record.”
The re-release will have a limited edition as only 300 copies of it will be available worldwide. The album will also feature Mr. Follow Follow.
The nostalgic eight-track cartridge is available for pre-order HERE