Category Archives: Performers

You might like… Gabriel Gbadamosi on Fela Kuti (BBC Great Lives series)

Image credits: Toludpilgrim (cc by-sa 3.0)

There’s an interesting 30 minute exploration of Fela Kuti’s eventful life here, courtesy of the BBC and Radio 4.

Poet, playwright, and critic Gabriel Gbadamosi chooses as his Great Life the political maverick and inventor of Afrobeat, musician Fela Kuti, and tells Matthew Parris why his work deserves to be better known.

Whether withstanding ferocious beatings from the Nigerian police, insulting his audiences, or demanding a million pounds in cash upfront from Motown records, his strength and stubbornness were legendary, and his gift for controversy unmatched.

Fela had more than 25 wives, some of whom he beat, and was President of his own self proclaimed Republic. He smoked dope and was the scourge of the rulers of a corrupt Nigerian state and was acclaimed as having the best live band on earth.

Gabriel Gbadamosi is joined by Stephen Chan, professor of International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, to discuss the musical and political life of this outspoken force of nature.

Presenter: Matthew Parris

Producer: Melvin Rickarby

Click here to stream the recording or right-click here to save the file as an mp3

You might like… Jazzie B on James Brown (BBC Great Lives series)

Image credits: Alexandre Dulaunoy (cc by-sa 2.0)

There’s an interesting 30 minute exploration of James Brown’s colourful life here, courtesy of the BBC and Radio 4.

Matthew Parris invites his guests to nominate the person whom they feel is a great life. In this programme, music entrepreneur and DJ Jazzie B of Soul II Soul chooses American singer and musician, James Brown, ‘the Godfather of Funk’. 

Jazzie B, who was awarded a CBE for services to black British music, spent time with James Brown towards the end of his life and says he became ‘like a big brother’ to him. Here, together with music journalist Charles Shaar Murray, they talk to Matthew about why they believe ‘Mr Brown’ is a Great Life.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Click here to stream the recording or right-click here to save the file as an mp3