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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Dash Me My Property
As I sit back to review this book...my mind races back and forth, I'm left in a dilema of where to start from.Micheal has done justice to a legends life - Disticntly and accurately describing not only the events and lifestyle of the High preist but also giving his readers an understanding into the reason for the lyrics of Fela. The fact that Fela was a man with balanced...
Published on 3 Jan 2002 by Ademola Soremekun

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3.0 out of 5 stars He Deserved Better
Given the limited choice of books about Fela, I thought I'd start with the most "serious" one.

It turned out to be the the Master's thesis of an ethnomusicologist, which sounds fine in principle, but the reality did not match my expectations. There was precious little musicology in evidence, but lots of dense, turgid text about his attitudes to gender,...
Published 2 months ago by Marine Blue


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Dash Me My Property, 3 Jan 2002
By 
Ademola Soremekun "Admore" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon (Paperback)
As I sit back to review this book...my mind races back and forth, I'm left in a dilema of where to start from.Micheal has done justice to a legends life - Disticntly and accurately describing not only the events and lifestyle of the High preist but also giving his readers an understanding into the reason for the lyrics of Fela. The fact that Fela was a man with balanced views who had no problems of telling 'it' as he saw, means his legacy needs to be lived on - it must to be passed onto generations to come, and Micheal has done this well in this extremely well documented memoir/testimonial of a legend. This will definately go on to be a Bible for every Kalakutacian. A great resources of information for music lovers,a strong reference for nigerians and africans outside the diaspora...a fact book for Fela's inconsiderate critics.
Just say Yeah,Yeah!
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3.0 out of 5 stars He Deserved Better, 28 May 2014
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This review is from: Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon (Paperback)
Given the limited choice of books about Fela, I thought I'd start with the most "serious" one.

It turned out to be the the Master's thesis of an ethnomusicologist, which sounds fine in principle, but the reality did not match my expectations. There was precious little musicology in evidence, but lots of dense, turgid text about his attitudes to gender, race and colonialism. These are legitimate areas of enquiry for such an artist, but when they are heavily refracted through prevailing Western academic theories, the whole effect is somewhat dispiriting. In essence, the book is light on his achievements and hard on his "omissions", which is quite unfair I think. Choose any notable male performer from the 60's/70's and chances are, you are looking at somebody with questionable attitudes towards women.

I would have loved to have seen a page of one of his scores, or at least a description. How much was formally composed, and how much reached through improvisation? How did he construct his epic works, and how did his techniques change over time? Pull some of his polyrhythms apart! Musical comments were short and unilluminating "he was bringing in more modal harmonies by this stage", "the track begins with a strong bass line, before congas and other percussion enter".

Album covers were frequently discussed, but not illustrated in the book.

A lot of lyrics are reproduced, with the original and standard English versions alongside.

Fela himself is frequently absent from the narrative, usually while some theorizing takes place, before a short quote pops up in the margin. It rarely felt like the author had actually met the man himself, even though he clearly had.

The author does have a good grip on the serpentine twists of post-independence Nigeria, and the interplay between the various "vagabonds in power" at any given time.

Finally, the cover design does a great disservice to a subject who clearly had a keen sense of visual spectacle. A poor photo badly solarized and plastered over a "crumpled brown paper" background, with his name pointlessly split in two. The "designer" should choose another profession.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy Afrobeat recipient!, 25 May 2011
This review is from: Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon (Paperback)
After a ton of research, I bought this book for a friend whose extensive knowledge of music in general and Afrobeat in particular is intimidating, to say the least (in a nice way, he's a lovely man!). You can imagine my anxiety as I handed it over worrying that a) he already had it and b) he already knew much of what was contained. THEN imagine my happiness that neither of those things were true, and that he LOVED it and devoured it in the space of a week.
I'd read on quite a few Afrobeat fora that this was the ultimate Fela book, and the feedback I received from the birthday boy definitely backs that up! Enjoy.
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Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon
Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon by Michael E. Veal (Paperback - 17 May 2000)
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