Fela Kuti, Zombie

Jess Harvell

By Jess Harvell

on 04.22.11 in Reviews


Fela Kuti
Catchy, hard funk as political commentary

1976's "Zombie" is Fela's most insidious back-and-forth chorus. So catchy, in fact, that Fela's fans started shouting it in the street at those that the song accused of being the real zombies — the Nigerian police and military. Fela's double-time drill sergeant delivery on the song is joined by his female troops shouting "zombie!" after each line. Unfortunately, by the time Zombie was released, Fela had poked the bear through the cage one too many times, and government interest in the goings-on at the Kalakuta Republic would turn from harassment to outright violence in early 1977.