‘Afrodisiac’ (Original year of release 1972-1973) – The collection of songs on ‘Afrodisiac’ were songs Fela and the Nigeria 70 (Later Africa 70) re-recorded at Abbey Road in London in 1971. Originally recorded and released in Nigeria on 45rpm, they were Fela’s first successive hits in the Nigerian music charts. The best known song on 1973’s ‘Afrodisiac’ is ‘Jeun Ko Ku’, a satire about gluttony and Fela’s first major hit in West Africa. In Broken English the title means ‘chop and quench’, which, in turn, means ‘eat and die’ in Standard English.
Alu Jon Jonki Jon: The first song in the collection is a traditional moonlight tale, made into a song. Yoruba mythology makes constant references to inter-reaction between the human and the animal world—a CO-habitation between the two worlds. Once there was a great famine that ravaged the entire world, so goes the tale. To survive this famine, all animals agreed to sacrifice their mothers in the collective cooking-pot. When it came to the turn of the dog, the other animals discovered that he had secretly hidden away his mother in heaven. Alu Jon Jon Ki Jon, the other animals chorused after the dog, treating him as a selfish and dishonest comrade.
Jeun Ko Ku (Chop’n Quench): This piece was Fela’s first musical success in Nigeria. It paved the way for his eventual popularity throughout Africa. Within six months of its release, this track sold more than two hundred thousand copies—a reason why it remains one of the most exploited(instrumental/vocal versions) of Fela’s repertoires. Jen Ko Ku is about a glutton—who eats himself to death.
Eko Ile: is about the popular adage: ‘no place like home’. Eko is the traditional name for Lagos City, before the Portuguese renamed it Lagos
Je’nwi Temi(Don’t Gag Me): is the first of Fela’s attacks at the Nigeria ‘powers that be’. A strong message that he is not one to be gagged. Sung in Yoruba language, it says: …’even if you jail me? You cannot shut my mouth! I will open my mouth like basket! You cannot shut my mouth!’. He goes on to stress that the truth is bitter, but it remains what it is – the TRUTH. Hence, he will not stop talking and singing about the truth. – Mabinuori Kayode Idowu
In response to popular demand Knitting Factory Records reissue seven of Nigerian icon and Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti’s most important albums. This will be the first time they are released individually since their original vinyl release in Nigeria in the 70s and 80s. The LPs feature the original releases’ iconic artwork and include digital download card and liner notes. The seven LPs were included in the third Fela Kuti box set, curated by Brian Eno and released in 2014. This is the first time these titles have been released individually on vinyl.