Fela Anikulapo Kuti, born October 15, 1938, was widely regarded as the most radical and most influential music artist to have emerged from Africa. Fifteen years after his premature death in 1997, his story is still being told and his name is being mentioned more now than ever.
The former family home of the late Afrobeat and Music legend Fela Kuti‘s located on 8, Gbemisola Street, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos and popularly known as “Kalakuta” has been reopened on Monday, October 15, 2012 as the Kalakuta Museum to celebrate his music, his symbolic struggles & social activism, his life and also to promote cultural heritage. The museum was financed by the Lagos State Government.
The museum which though not finished, had to be launched on Fela‘s 74th posthumous birthday and the start of an annual, week-long Felabration. The Kuti family was joined by fans, celebrities and Government officials for the opening the Kalakuta Museum
The Kalakuta museum has been filled with bright murals, album artworks, photos of him, his family & his performances, his unique stage costumes & instruments, a wall-display of his flamboyant shoe collection, newspaper clippings, African art and other memorabilia.
The burial site of the late “Abami Eda” is also within the refurbished compound, while his bedroom remains mostly as he left it at the time of his death, with VHS tapes, a giant inflatable globe and racks of clothes hanging above a simple twin bed.
As well as a tribute to the music legend, the museum serves as a boutique hotel with several bedrooms, sitting rooms, a roof-top bar, restaurant and performance space.
Theo Lawson was the architect who worked on the conversion of the family home into a museum with the Government funding of $250,000 to turn the home into a museum.
Fela’s artist, Lemmy Ghariokwu has been announced as the curator for the museum.
But along with his music, it was his undeniable bravery and commitment to stand for what he believed in, that earned him an collosial international following.
Artists from D’Banj, Wizkid, Nneka, D’Angelo, Nas, Kanye West, Macy Gray, Jay-Z, Hugh Masekela to Common, Beyonce, Kelis, Stevie Wonder and The Roots have all been influenced in one way or the other by Fela’s infectious music and multi-layered music compositions.
Renewed international interest in the life and influence of “the king of Afrobeat” was fuelled in recent years by the hit, Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Fela!