Fela Kuti, Shakara / London Scene

Jess Harvell

By Jess Harvell

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Shakara/London Scene

Fela Kuti
Misogynist rants and thick grooves

Featuring his cheekiest cover — all of his wives topless and arranged in the shape of Africa and then 70, the name of his band — 1972's Shakara is probably the Fela record to play for the merely curious or still uncommitted, at least if they're not a hard-line feminist. "Lady" is Fela at his most dumbly misogynistic, wagging his superiority complex at African women attempting to become as empowered as their Western sisters, thankfully appended to a beat that could woo a NOW conference. "Shakara," on the other hand, is Fela at his most sublime and danceable. London Scene features some of Africa 70's earliest recordings, which split the difference between the shorter Koola Lobitos recordings and the rangier direction in which he would later move.