Artistic vision, pidgin and yabis in fela’s afrobeat

Author: 
Peter Onwudinjo and Chinaka C. Mgbojirikwe
Abstract: 

One major concern of Fela’s Afrobeat music is to authenticate, entrench and amplify the collective dream of Nigerian people. The thrust of Afrobeat manifests in glaring confrontational and militant lyrics and tones of the songs. It is obvious that various indigenous governments in Africa have betrayed their fellow kinsmen at the turn of independence. As a result, there exists an immeasurable gap between the rulers and the ruled. More so, the rulers have continued to oppress the ruled. The governments have not only expressed convincing apathy to the lachrymal state of the masses but displayed insalubrious indifference to caulk the gap between themselves and the masses. This paper is a passionate attempt to explore and expose those indelible artistic imprints in Fela’s Afrobeat. Through in-depth Marxist analysis of three songs – “Suffering and Smiling”, “Zombie” and “Sorrows, Tears and Blood”, - Fela’s use of Pidgin English and yabis, the fiendish ingenuity of oppressive leaders and the hypocrisy of the clergy are exposed. The paper concludes that Fela’s Afrobeat strikes an elusive synthesis between artistic vision and social reality, and thus very apt in mirroring the society.

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   Vol. 07, Issue 02, February 2017

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