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Fela Kuti Box Set Idris Elba Curated

Partisan Records announce Fela Kuti Box Set curated by Idris Elba

12 October 2023, 16:35 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

Partisan Records have announced Box Set #6 – the latest instalment in an ongoing series of expansive box set reissues of the beloved back catalogue of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.

Following on from previous editions curated by the likes of Chris Martin, Erykah Badu, Ginger Baker, Brian Eno and Questlove, the latest box set in the series comes compiled by actor, producer, DJ, rapper and singer Idris Elba, aka Big Driis, and features the classic records Open & Close (1972), Music of Many Colours (1980), Stalemate (1977), I Go Shout Plenty!!! (1977), Live in Amsterdam (1983) and Opposite People (1977).

Accompanying today's news of Box Set #6's imminent arrival is the single, "Stalemate (Edit)", drawn from the A-side of the 1977 record of the same name, included as part of the collection. On the track, using a combination of Broken English and Yoruba, Kuti muses briefly on the face-off between Nigeria’s military regime and the social groups who made up the bulk of his audience: students, intellectuals and sufferheads (as he called the urban working class)

Limited to 5000 copies, the set features artwork for each album meticulously recreated from the original vinyl pressings - alongside vintage vinyl label artwork - as well as 24-page booklet featuring lyrics, commentaries on each record by noted Afrobeat historian Chris May, never-before-seen photos and an introduction from Elba explaining his album choices. All sets come accompanied by a special 16" x 24" poster designed by Lemi Ghariokwu, the creative force behind many of Fela's seminal album covers.

Today also marks the release of a new documentary short entitled Fela Kuti: The Legacy, directed by Kayode Thomas. The film debuts this evening at 7pm via Fela Kuti’s official YouTube channel and offers an engrossing and educational introduction to the life and work of the legendary singer and activist.

The film sheds light on Fela Kuti's influence on fashion, style, and culture as well as his message and activism, which are still important today. It also examines the significance of the Shrine, the iconic music venue where he often performed.

Fela Kuti - Box Set #6, curated by Idris Elba is set for release on 1 December via Partisan Records, and is available to pre-order now.

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