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TO CELEBRATE THE 75TH BIRTHDAY OF NIGERIAN ICON AND AFROBEAT ORIGINATOR FELA KUTI

FELA KUTI
LIMITED EDITION 12″ VINYL OF THE EXTENDED VERSION OF ‘SORROW TEARS &
BLOOD’
TO BE RELEASED EXCLUSIVELY FOR RECORD STORE DAY ON 20 APRIL 2013

VIDEO (edit): http://youtu.be/F4ZUnPWxgvc

12″ single (Knitting Factory Records KFR1030-1 – 5050954293060)
1. Sorrow Tears & Blood (Extended Original Version) 16:41
2. Perambulator 14:38
Out 20 April 2013 on Record Store Day

TO CELEBRATE THE 75TH BIRTHDAY OF NIGERIAN ICON AND AFROBEAT
ORIGINATOR FELA KUTI, AS WELL AS THE RECENT RELEASE OF NEW DELUXE
COMPILATION _THE BEST OF THE BLACK PRESIDENT 2_ AND NEWLY REPACKAGED
VERSIONS OF FELA’S ENTIRE BACK CATALOGUE, KNITTING FACTORY RECORDS ARE
RELEASING THIS SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION 12″ SINGLE EXCLUSIVELY FOR RECORD
STORE DAY ON 20 APRIL 2013.

THIS RELEASE INCLUDES THE TITLE TRACK, THE SEMINAL ‘SORROW TEARS &
BLOOD’, RESTORED TO ITS ORIGINAL, COMPLETE RUNNING TIME, FOLLOWING THE
RECENT REDISCOVERY OF THE SIX-MINUTE INSTRUMENTAL SECTION PRECEDING THE
ENTRANCE OF FELA’S VOCALS. THE B-SIDE IS THE SUPER RARE ‘PERAMBULATOR’
WHICH HAS BEEN UNAVAILABLE FOR DECADES.

Afrobeat historian CHRIS MAY, who provides in-depth track-by-track
commentaries for all tracks on the Fela reissues released by Knitting
Factory, writes:

_Sorrow Tears & Blood_ (1977) – an impassioned attack on police and
army violence against political dissenters in Africa – was among the
first albums Fela released following the Nigerian army’s destruction of
his Kalakuta Republic commune on 18 February 1977. Characteristically,
Fela came back fighting. One of the LP’s early front sleeve designs
(there were two, about which more below) was a photograph showing Fela
onstage in the aftermath of the outrage, his left leg in plaster from
foot to knee. The police and army invariably leave behind them “sorrow,
tears and blood,” Fela sings, and the backing vocalists respond, “dem
regular trademark.” The album was dedicated, Fela said, “to the memory
of those who were beaten, raped, tortured or injured” during the
Kalakuta attack.

Fela’s record company, Decca, refused to release _Sorrow Tears &
Blood_, fearing government reprisals. Fela responded by setting up
Kalakuta Records and making the album the label’s debut release.

All this has led to the common belief that the album’s title track was
written after, and concerns itself with, the events of February 1977. It
certainly resonates with them. However, according to Fela’s friend and
sleeve designer, Ghariokwu Lemi, Fela actually wrote the lyrics in the
weeks following the South African apartheid regime’s crushing of the
Soweto uprising on 16 June 1976. ‘Sorrow Tears & Blood’ was added to
Afrika 70′s set list the following month, and was probably recorded
around August/September.

Ghariokwu Lemi was with Fela the night news came in of the Soweto
massacre. Writing to me in 2011, Lemi said: “Early on the evening of
Wednesday, 16 June 1976, we drove to Ikate, Surulere, in Lagos, to visit
Fela’s immediate family: his first wife, Remi, and three children, Yeni,
Femi and Sola. They lived away from all the drama at Kalakuta. I had
shared a little goro (a weed-infused paste) with Fela earlier, and as we
sat in the family living room exchanging banter, I was in a mental
struggle to stay focused and keep my concentration. Then, at 9pm on
television, came news from South Africa that shocked the world.
Defenseless primary school students, protesting against the enforced use
of the Afrikaans language, had been shot dead by police in Soweto. We
all jumped up from our seats in shock at such beast-like brutality. We
discussed this all night long and all week thereafter. A few weeks
later, Fela rehearsed a new composition, inspired by a brutality-catalog
consisting of his own experiences, clashes between the police and
university students, and other confrontations between the army and
communities around Nigeria. He wove into this the growing repression by
the racist police in apartheid South Africa. All this acted as material
for a magnificent new song titled ‘Sorrow Tears & Blood’, STB, on the
Afrobeat menu.”

By the time the song was eventually recorded, Lemi had listened to
Fela perform it at the Shrine and other venues scores of times. “My mind
was set on the approach to take on my cover art. Having been privy to
the rationale behind the message, I thought I was home free with my
concept, like always. Fela was ghoulish in his description of a typical
scenario of a police or military raid and its effect. He was caustic in
his admonition of a people who were too afraid to stand up for freedom
and justice. Since Fela had composed ‘Sorrow Tears & Blood,’ a lot of
water had passed under the bridge. Kalakuta Republic had been sacked by
one thousand soldiers in a very horrendous raid in broad daylight. I put
a bold, stoical and fearless Fela image on my canvas. My painting showed
a crowd running away from an unseen cause; an empty road with a single
military boot lost in the melee; a vulture waiting for a meal; soldiers
meting out jungle justice; a screaming woman lost to fear.”

Lemi thought he had “nailed this cover for good,” but on presenting it
to Fela for approval, “found it was not my lucky day.” Fela hated the
sleeve, regarding it as defeatist: he particularly hated the detail
showing a group of people running away from the police. The argument led
to an estrangement between Fela and Lemi which lasted eight years.

‘Perambulator’ is one of the great “missing” Fela tracks. Until this
Record Store Day special, it has been unavailable for almost 30 years.
It was released on Nigeria’s Coconut Records in 1984, and then, apart
from an independent Japanese release, which may have been a pirate,
pretty much lost to history. There was no European or American pressing
- in late 1984, Fela began an eighteen month spell in prison on trumped
up currency smuggling charges, which made negotiating international
releases near impossible. When he came out, Fela’s most urgent recording
concern was rescuing _Army Arrangement _from the dog’s dinner Bill
Laswell’s remix for Celluloid had created. ‘Perambulator’ has an
outstanding long-form lyric in which Fela ridicules the empty words and
promises of politicians, asserts his belief in traditional African
medicine, and urges African solutions to African problems. It’s
eviscerating and funny with it. A blinder, back in circulation.

‘Sorrow Tears & Blood’ video
Edit: http://youtu.be/F4ZUnPWxgvc
Full version: http://youtu.be/tj1wpNuQRaM

***********************************************************************************************

Also don’t miss:

SALUTING THE BLACK PRESIDENT FELA KUTI FEATURING GINGER BAKER, TONY
ALLEN, DELE SOSIMI’S AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA, BLAK TWANG, AFRIKAN BOY, BREIS,
SHINGAI SHONIWA, TY + SPECIAL GUESTS
FRIDAY, 17 MAY 2013, 8PM, AT 229, LONDON
229 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5PN,
http://www.229thevenue.com/, nearest tubes: Great Portland Street,
Regent’s Park
Tickets £20 in advance online from http://www.agmp.co.uk,
http://www.eventim.co.uk, http://www.ticketweb.co.uk,
http://www.seetickets.com, http://www.gigantic.com,
http://www.stargreen.com or from the 24-hour ticket line: 0844 249 1000

http://www.facebook.com/events/442859539126708/

Presented by Knitting Factory Records & AGMP
An evening to honour Nigerian icon and Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti
and to celebrate the re-packaging and re-release of his entire catalogue
(Knitting Factory Records) including Ginger Baker (drummer and Fela
collaborator), Tony Allen (previously Fela’s drummer), Dele Sosimi
(previously Fela’s keyboardist), Blak Twang, Afrikan Boy, BREIS, TY and
Shingai Shoniwa. The musicians, singers and rappers will offer their
interpretations of Fela songs and will collectively contribute to a
magical evening, aided and abetted by the musical backdrop provided by
the inimitable Dele Sosimi and his Afrobeat Orchestra.

***********************************************************************************************

ABOUT FELA KUTI:

Nigerian icon and Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti passed away 15 years
ago but to this day his legacy lives on across the globe with his
still-relevant, forthright political views and powerful music. The
complete works of Fela, consisting of almost 50 albums, have now been
re-packaged, with in-depth track commentaries written by Afrobeat
historian Chris May, for a three-batch re-launch between March and
September 2013.
The re-release programme has been spearheaded by the new compilation
_The Best Of The Black President 2_ (out 4 March 2013), which includes
1975′s ‘Everything Scatter’, probably one of the ultimate Afrobeat
tracks, as well as an extended version of the classic ‘Sorrow Tears &
Blood’. The 2CD collection comes with a foreword written by
Senegalese-American R&B/hip-hop artist Akon and track commentaries
written by Chris May. A special deluxe edition of _The Best Of The Black
President 2 _also includes a DVD of Fela’s legendary 1984 Glastonbury
concert.
The second tranche of releases is planned for 20 May with a further
ten CDs, each containing two albums.
Twitter: @felakuti

http://www.fela.net

http://www.facebook.com/felakuti

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