Underground System (Reissue)

$55.00
Vinyl LP

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Knitting Factory Records/Cooking Vinyl are proud to reissue the individual titles from the Fela Kuti Box Set #4 Curated by Erykah Badu.

Fela starts the song in Underground System by saying he had sang songs for great African men: Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana was for him the greatest of all. In the same breath, he had sang songs against African thieves: Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigerian President and M.K.O. Abiola; late chairman of ITT Middle East and Africa, are the biggest thieves. He went on to explain that many young folks in Africa today may not know about Kwame Nkrumah because of the diabolic conspiracy which consists in keeping Africans away from knowing who they should look up to as role models. For Fela, those who know or read about Nkrumah will agree that there are not many like him in the history of Africa, he was African personality personified. He worked throughout his adult life for black pride and African unity. Unfortunately, because of the Underground System they try to protect, whenever Africa finds a charismatic leader determined to change things on the continent, other stooges passing as leaders will conspire to destroy such a leader

Pansa Pansa was Fela’s most defiant statement to the Nigerian military rulers of his determination to champion the cause of Pan Africanism. Mid 1976, when Fela started to play this track live, musically he was at his zenith—extremely popular throughout Africa. Politically, his message was beginning to get across. Youths in Nigeria were beginning to identify with the Fela ideals and registering en-mass at the Africa Shrine headquarters of the new grassroots movement Fela had inaugurated and called: The Young African Pioneers. Economically, it was the peak of the oil boom. Fela has just signed a twelve album a year deal with DECCA Records. The record industry was booming—people were buying records. At government’s level, it was corruption galore including those in the highest echelon of government.

In Confusion Break Bones, Fela mentions the earlier song he wrote titled ‘CONFUSION’ where he compared the present African situation (with particular reference to Nigeria), as an example of a crossroad in the centre of town with a permanent traffic jam.  Despite this graphic picture painted in “Confusion”, some people feel optimistic that one day the Nigerian situation will improve, Fela felt the contrary because he did not share their optimism, he did not see why a continent as rich as Africa, with all the natural resources, will have the majority of their population existing below the poverty.

Government prohibits some articles, but such articles find their way into the market despite prohibition. However government agents seize such articles from the poor, whose livelihood depend on the little profit they make selling such articles. Fela asked in this song why destroy such article by burning? Why not give them out to people for free? Particularly since these articles are needed by the people and because of the disorganisation that is government, people profit from smuggling the prohibited articles into the country. Singing about all these problems was no new news for Fela. He had done this all his professional life — putting everything at risk. He feels it is no news(old news) to talk about all the mismanagement of African lives by various administrations.

Please note that Underground System (Reissue) is currently not in store but is with our local supplier.

Most of the time it takes around 2-5 days from the time you place the order for the item to arrive here and be sent out but it can take longer if there are any delays.