One Day Go Be One Day: Exploring Fela Kuti’s Spiritual Roots
The late Fela Kuti remains Nigeria’s most iconic musician, not only for pioneering afrobeat, which has since inspired many generations of artists around the world but for his relentless social activism as well. His story has been told multiple times in multiple ways, but rarely are we privy to the legend’s vulnerability. This is the side KutiDazed portrays in their short documentary-film, One Day Go Be One Day, directed by Akinola Davies Jr., with music by Obongjayar.
Along with the Dazed team, Akinola Davies Jr. and Obongjayar headed to Lagos for this documentary-film, interviewing Kuti’s Grammy-nominated sons, Femi and Seun Kuti, as well as his close friend, Lemi Ghariokwu, who was also behind a host of his most iconic album covers.
The short film sees these three men open up about the darkest period in Kuti’s life: The raid of his Kalakuta Republic, which was burned to the ground on February 18, 1977, and the subsequent passing of his mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Femi, Seun and Lemi narrate Kuti’s musings during this time, from his heartbroken state following the attack, to his interest in the African occupancy of Egypt — explaining why Fela changed the name of his brand from Africa 70 to Egypt 80.
The audio from these illuminating interviews is laid upon conceptual scenes of artistic expression that highlight the varied aspects of Nigerian culture and tradition that were so highly celebrated by the musician. These informative soundbites are then broken up by Obongjayar’s vivacious score and evocative spoken word segments, which lyrically illustrate the documentary-film’s intentions of reviving Kuti’s spirit.
The concept for One Day Go Be One Day is innovative, and its realisation is incredibly compelling. Not only are we left with more insight into Kuti’s life and his feelings, but we are also visually enthused as we watch it.
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