By Reuben Abati
On the occasion of his 80th birthday, Benson Idonije, who is arguably Nigeria’s most informed analyst of jazz music and an enthusiastic promoter of popular culture and music has released for public review and consideration an absolutely well-informed biography of Fela, the Afro-beat music maestro. The book is a useful contribution in my opinion. But the first thing I noticed- signposted by the copy sent to me, is how indeed, this particular publication appears to be a victim of the emergent crises of publishing in Africa in dispossessed economies. The copy sent to me is copyrighted 2014; on the cover it is described as a preview edition, scheduled for “official release: first quarter 2015”, the review copy doesn’t even have an ISBN number, there is no index and the bibliography is wrongly presented.
After more than 29 years of assessing manuscripts and editing/reviewing books, I assume that I can conveniently imagine what the author, printers and local publishers of this book must have gone through, the same challenges other book writers publishing in sub-Saharan Africa face at the moment: looking for money, getting good editors, looking for publishers, and hoping that there will be readers. But we must be glad, and Benson Idonije deserves to be congratulated, on his tenacity, in bringing out against all possible odds, a memoir as he correctly describes it, on Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, legend, maestro, counterculture hero, mystic, musician, philosopher, iconoclast, rebel, patriot and one of Africa’s most significant contributions to the world of art and music in the 20th century.
It is 2016, 19 years after Fela’s death, and here is a tribute of legends to the legend, a brilliant memoir, from a man who served as Fela’s first manager, beginning with the Jazz Quintet/Koola Lobitos in 1963/4, and who served him …Read More
Source:: PM Newspaper