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Insert included featuring liner notes explaining the album history
Fela Kuti also known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick. Over a decade after his death, vindication has come to Kuti, Africa's musical genius. AfroBeat, his gift to the world, is now an international staple.
Throughout his life, Fela contended that AfroBeat was a modern form of danceable, African classical music with an urgent message for the planet's denizens. Created out of a cross-breeding of Funk, Jazz, Salsa and Calypso with Juju, Highlife and African percussive patterns, it was to him a political weapon.
Sorrow Tears and Blood (1977) accurately depicts the trail left in the wake of the February 18, 1977, raid by 1,000 armed Nigerian army men on Fela Kuti and his Kalakuta republic. Sorrow Tears and Blood contains a pair of extended works, featuring one title per LP side. In contrast to the hard-edged and aggressive Afro-funk that Kuti and his Africa 70 became synonymous with, both the A-side title track and B-side, "Colonial Mentality," are seemingly staid, in light — or perhaps because — of the cruel state-sponsored attacks that he and his extended family suffered.
Sorrow Tears and Blood is neither a full-blown, up-tempo funk drone nor a somber dirge. The even-handed, mid-tempo groove trots along at a steady pace and features some comparatively sedate sax work from Kuti. Even the instrumental introduction — which has been known to clock in at over five minutes — is reduced to well under three. His lyrics are starkly direct — "Everybody run, run, run/Everybody scatter, scatter/Some people lost some bread/Some people just die" — yet the emotive center is gone. Perhaps this is the result of fear, shellshock, or a combination of the two. Kuti's words, however, remain as indicting as ever: "Them leave sorrow, tears, and blood/Them regular trademark." "Colonial Mentality" returns to a more seething and slinky musicality. The dark and brooding bassline undulates beneath a brass-intensive Africa 70. Rarely has Kuti's musical arrangements so perfectly imaged James Brown's J.B. 's or Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra.
|1. Sorrow Tears And Blood
|2. Colonial Mentality