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Fela Kuti's Kalakuta Museum: Nigeria Celebrates Afrobeat Legend (PHOTOS)

Fela Kuti Museum

By SUNDAY ALAMBA   10/22/12 07:30 AM ET EDT  AP

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigeria celebrated the memory of late Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti this past week as his family put on a series of concerts featuring singers and artists channeling his funky style.

Felabration, as the concert series is known, began with the opening of the Kalakuta Museum, which offers a glimpse of how Fela lived in his former home. Thousands came to the New Afrika Shrine, the performance hall where his son Femi Kuti performs each week.

Through the haze of marijuana smoke, top artists in Nigeria, including Asa and Tiwa Savage, performed on stage. Most raised their fists above their heads, mirroring the famous image of the singer who called for pan-Africanism and human rights in his country when many were cowed into silence by a string of military rulers.

Fela created Afrobeat in the late 1960s, mixing the rhythm of jazz, the catchiness of pop music and traditions of African mysticism into 10-minute-long songs riffing on politics and sex in a nation only recently freed from colonialism. Many in Nigeria, at times a very religious and conservative nation, largely shied away from Fela over his heavily publicized sexual appetite and marijuana use. However, the singer has received more attention in recent years following a smash Broadway musical about his life.

Fela died in 1997 of complications brought on by AIDS.

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  • Femi Kuti, son of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, performs as a Fan hold a portrait of late Fela Kuti at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Sunday was the final set of performances for the annual Felabration festival, a series of concerts put on by the family of the late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Two men wear T-shirts showing Fela Anikulapo-Kuti with a giant joint at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Sunday was the final set of performances for the annual Felabration festival, a series of concerts put on by the family of the late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • Fans watch a performance at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Sunday was the final set of performances for the annual Felabration festival, a series of concerts put on by the family of the late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • A dancer is seen in the light on stage at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Sunday was the final set of performances for the annual Felabration festival, a series of concerts put on by the family of the late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • Femi Kuti, son of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, performs at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Sunday was the final set of performances for the annual Felabration festival, a series of concerts put on by the family of the late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • A man smokes Marijuana during "Felabration," an annual event paying homage to the founder of Afrobeat music, in Lagos, Nigeria, in the early hours of Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Thousands of Afrobeat enthusiasts danced through the night in a cavernous warehouse to celebrate the late Nigerian music legend and political activist. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • A woman dances during "Felabration," an annual event paying homage to founder of Afrobeat Fela Kuti, in Lagos, Nigeria in the early hours of Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Thousands of Afrobeat enthusiasts danced through the night in a cavernous warehouse to celebrate the late Nigerian music legend and political activist. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Femi Kuti, Asa

    Femi Kuti, right, son of Afrobeat music founder Fela Kuti, and Asa, left, perform at "Felabration," an annual event paying homage to Fela Kuti in Lagos, Nigeria in the early hours of Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Thousands of Afrobeat enthusiasts danced through the night in a cavernous warehouse to celebrate the late Nigerian music legend and political activist. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Fans gather at a shrine honoring the late Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti in Lagos, Nigeria, in the early hours of Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Thousands of Afrobeat enthusiasts danced through the night in a cavernous warehouse to celebrate the late Nigerian music legend and political activist. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Asa

    Nigerian artist Asa performs at "Felabration," an annual event paying homage to late Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti in Lagos, Nigeria in the early hours of Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Thousands of Afrobeat enthusiasts danced through the night in a cavernous warehouse to celebrate the late Nigerian music legend and political activist. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Asa

    Nigerian artist Asa performs at "Felabration," an annual event paying homage to late Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti in Lagos, Nigeria in the early hours of Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Thousands of Afrobeat enthusiasts danced through the night in a cavernous warehouse to celebrate the late Nigerian music legend and political activist. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • A man attends the opening of Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • A man takes a call on the balcony of Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo / Sunday Alamba)

  • Portrait of Late Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, talking about Africa, on display at Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Portraits of Late Afrobeat Legend Fela Kuti, are on display at Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Late Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti's Saxophone is on display at Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo / Sunday Alamba)

  • Shoes used by Late Afrobeat Legend Fela Kuti, are seen on display at the Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Yeni Kuti, Daughter of late Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, laughs during an opening ceremony of Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo / Sunday Alamba)

  • Seun Kuti, the son of Late Afrobeat Legend Fela Kuti, attends opening of Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo / Sunday Alamba)

  • A man walks past portraits of late Afrobeat Legend Fela Kuti, at Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Men take photographs of late Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti's family , in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • A woman walks past portraits of late Afrobeat Legend Fela Kuti, at the Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo / Sunday Alamba)

  • People look at a giant poster of late Afro beat Legend Fela Kuti, during an opening ceremony of Kalakuta Musuem in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • A man dressed like the late Afro beat legend Fela Kuti, attends an opening of Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Femi Kuti, left, and Yeni Kuti, right, children of Afro beat legend Fela Kuti, attend the opening of Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo / Sunday Alamba)

  • Femi Kuti, the son of late Afro beat Legend Fela Kuti, looks at portraits of his Father at Kalakuta Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • A videojournalist records an image of a mural with a quote by musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The quote reads: "If a man wants to enslave you forever, he will never tell you the truth about your forefathers." The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • A man stands amid reproduced newspaper front pages with headlines about singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in a museum about the musician in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo / Jon Gambrell)

  • A young man picks up a shoe once owned by singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as pictures of the musician hang in the background in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • A security guard stands in a museum focused on the life of singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • A woman holds a photograph of a dancer for singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti while preparing an exhibit in a museum about the musician in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • A woman dances alone and points at an old concert poster advertising a show by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. Performer Femi Kuti, son of the late Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, plays at the venue weekly, drawing a diverse crowd from Nigeria's largest city. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • An onlooker peers into the preserved bedroom of singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti while a reflection of a room containing the musician's shoes and a saxphone can be seen in a reflection in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • A young man picks up a saxophone once owned by singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as the musician's shoes hang in the background in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. The family of late Afrobeat singer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum on Monday in Lagos in the home the musician once lived in. The opening of the museum comes during Felabration, an annual music festival honoring the singer. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

  • Singer Femi Kuti, right, performs at the new Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, Sunday, Sep. 16, 2012. The Afrobeat artist, son of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, performs regularly at the nightclub. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • Singer Femi Kuti performs at the new Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, Sunday, Sep. 16, 2012. Afrobeat artist Femi Kuti, son of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, performs regularly at the nightclub. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • A woman dances as musician Femi Kuti performs at the new Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, Sunday, Sep. 16, 2012. Afrobeat artist Femi Kuti, son of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, performs regularly at the nightclub. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)



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