“We are delighted to be working with such a diverse and forward-looking group of labels, and feel particularly privileged to be helping Knitting Factory Records bring the music of Fela Kuti to a new audience,” said Steve Rainbow, PIAS Label Manager.
“From the beginning, the Knitting Factory has always been about championing music by artists who are looking to break boundaries rather than adhere to them,” added Knitting Factory Records’ label head, Tim Putnam. “And who better than Fela to show who we are and what we stand for! We’re excited to have Knitting Factory Records continue that tradition and look forward to sharing our eclectic roster of incredible artists throughout Europe and the rest of the world.”
As part of Knitting Factory Records’ UK/Europe program, the complete works of Nigerian icon and Afrobeat originator, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, consisting of almost 50 albums, are being re-packaged, with in-depth track commentaries written by Afrobeat historian Chris May, and prepared for a three-batch re-launch between February and September 2013.
The re-release program will be begin on February 1, 2013 with the release of The Best of The Black President, a deluxe 2 CD collection selected by Senegalese-American R&B/hip-hop artist Akon, and including a DVD of Fela’s legendary 1984 Glastonbury concert.
Fela Kuti died in 1997 but his legacy lives on. In addition to the vast catalog he left, his Lagos home, Kalakuta, has been transformed into the Kalakuta Museum, aided by a $250,000 grant from Lagos State Government who finally recognized his global cultural significance. His sons, Femi and Seun, constantly tour the world with their respective bands. Afrobeat can be heard all over the planet. There are now in excess of 50 Afrobeat bands operating in Europe, the United States, Britain, Japan and Australia.
In recognition of Fela’s burgeoning global stature, a feature film of Fela’s life and times is in the works with Focus Features, directed by Turner Prize winner, Steve McQueen and the hit Broadway Musical, Fela!, recipient of 11 Tony nominations and 3 awards, directed by Tony Award winner, Bill T Jones, continues to play in the world’s most prestigious theaters.