Jonathan Smith | 1 Dec 01:27 2010
Picon

Fela Kuti

....He’s still bitter about ‘Army Arrangement’– an album released while he was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell, with Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums. “There was no permission, no asking. He didn’t see the beauty of what I’d done.”

Nevertheless he admits that, as the military’s aim in imprisoning him was to stop his music, the album’s release – with Egypt 80 led by Fela’s son Femi and held together by Fela’s younger brother Beko – was a triumph and drew attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.

And despite the polishing Laswell gave ‘Army Arrangement’ it marked a return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also ‘Cross Examination’, his strongest song since ‘Colonial Mentality’. It may lack the raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but ‘Army’ still ranks alongside his best, his most politically outspoken work: ‘Why Black Men They Suffer’ (‘71), ‘No Bread’ (‘76), ‘Sorrow Tears And Blood’ (‘78), ‘Vagabonds In Power’ and ‘International Thief Third’ (both ‘79) and ‘Original Sufferhead’ (‘81). Before he called his music Afrobeat; now it’s classical African.


Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects. I suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I don't know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I certainly come from  a different culture.....




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haas alain | 2 Dec 14:33 2010
Picon

Re: Fela Kuti

"being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell"

Hum ... really ?

-------- Message original --------
Sujet : [laswell] Fela Kuti
De : Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> gmail.com>
Pour : laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
Date : 01/12/2010 01:27
>
>
> /....He’s still bitter about ‘Army Arrangement’– an album released 
> while he was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill 
> Laswell, with Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums. 
> “There was no permission, no asking. He didn’t see the beauty of what 
> I’d done.”
>
> Nevertheless he admits that, as the military’s aim in imprisoning him 
> was to stop his music, the album’s release – with Egypt 80 led by 
> Fela’s son Femi and held together by Fela’s younger brother Beko – was 
> a triumph and drew attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.
>
> /
> /And despite the polishing Laswell gave ‘Army Arrangement’ it marked a 
> return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also ‘Cross 
> Examination’, his strongest song since ‘Colonial Mentality’. It may 
> lack the raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but 
> ‘Army’ still ranks alongside his best, his most politically outspoken 
> work: ‘Why Black Men They Suffer’ (‘71), ‘No Bread’ (‘76), ‘Sorrow 
> Tears And Blood’ (‘78), ‘Vagabonds In Power’ and ‘International Thief 
> Third’ (both ‘79) and ‘Original Sufferhead’ (‘81). Before he called 
> his music Afrobeat; now it’s classical African./
> /
> /
> /
> /
> Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects. 
> I suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I 
> don't know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I 
> certainly come from  a different culture...../
> /
>
> http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/fela-kuti-the-king-of-afrobeat-part-two/
>
>
>
> 

------------------------------------

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Dave Brunelle | 2 Dec 15:22 2010
Picon

Re: Fela Kuti

you ever get the feeling that some people (like the cat that wrote this article) don't actually listen to the things they're writing about, instead relying on hearsay and what other persons have already written?  nice to see that crappy journalism and bad fact-checking isn't something specific to the internet age.
 
BUT, i still enjoy reading pieces like this for the history of it and to see if the story has changed over time.
 
does anyone else remember the exact story? I seem to recall that they WERE supposed to work together but Fela got arrested right before boarding his flight. Celluloid wanted the project done, Bill thought that Fela's declining skills showed and he did what he thought he needed to? All things considered in retrospect I think, considering how some people slam what Bill does on projects like this, I thought it was pretty tasteful and well done. 

On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 8:33 AM, haas alain <alain.haas <at> meteo.fr> wrote:
"being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell"

Hum ... really ?

-------- Message original --------
Sujet : [laswell] Fela Kuti
De : Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> gmail.com>
Pour : laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
Date : 01/12/2010 01:27
>
>
> /....He’s still bitter about ‘Army Arrangement’– an album released
> while he was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill
> Laswell, with Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums.
> “There was no permission, no asking. He didn’t see the beauty of what
> I’d done.”
>
> Nevertheless he admits that, as the military’s aim in imprisoning him
> was to stop his music, the album’s release – with Egypt 80 led by
> Fela’s son Femi and held together by Fela’s younger brother Beko – was
> a triumph and drew attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.
>
> /
> /And despite the polishing Laswell gave ‘Army Arrangement’ it marked a
> return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also ‘Cross
> Examination’, his strongest song since ‘Colonial Mentality’. It may
> lack the raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but
> ‘Army’ still ranks alongside his best, his most politically outspoken
> work: ‘Why Black Men They Suffer’ (‘71), ‘No Bread’ (‘76), ‘Sorrow
> Tears And Blood’ (‘78), ‘Vagabonds In Power’ and ‘International Thief
> Third’ (both ‘79) and ‘Original Sufferhead’ (‘81). Before he called
> his music Afrobeat; now it’s classical African./
> /
> /
> /
> /
> Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects.
> I suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I
> don't know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I
> certainly come from  a different culture...../
> /
>
> http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/fela-kuti-the-king-of-afrobeat-part-two/
>
>
>
>



------------------------------------

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--
Dave


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__,_._,___
cha2uke | 2 Dec 15:37 2010
Picon

Re: Fela Kuti

May Fela Anikulapo Kuti rest in peace.

It looks like that what has since been referred to as the "Army Arrangement Debacle" takes a place of
increased importance in Bill Laswell's biography - for a public who follows all steps critically and for
himself, since he also still refers to it occasionally nowadays. The apparent, unusually tough tragedy
of what really happened is something he has to just live with. As for the public: An opinion can be formed
only on the basis what has been published. There is a lot of blame. Several facts unclear, such as any
deceipt of original artist/breach of agreements. What the intentions were. Sources are in most cases
brief quotations, sometimes incomplete. The statements which can be read of a string of incidents more
than 25 years ago however give absolutely no clue as to anything wrong on the side of the producers
responsible for the remixing, before, during and after. The result of the work is not paticularly great,
neither from the perspective of that time nor at today's standards. It represents however 100% that what
one would expect, knowing the catalogue of previous works. No need for Bill Laswell to prove anything,
this particularly, but maybe he or the label would for the sake of peace just let know HOW poor the original
version atually was by just releasing it? Intersting IMO that all F.A. Kuti songs which went onto
collections and were released later on Celluloid, curated by Bill Laswell, were others than the disputed
Army Arrangement, which I take as a sign of best effort to "fix it". I would never have noticed this artist
and bought his stuff without those.

--- In laswell <at> yahoogroups.com, Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> ...> wrote:
>
> *....He's still bitter about `Army Arrangement'– an album released while he
> was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell, with
> Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums. "There was no
> permission, no asking. He didn't see the beauty of what I'd done."
> 
> Nevertheless he admits that, as the military's aim in imprisoning him was to
> stop his music, the album's release – with Egypt 80 led by Fela's son Femi
> and held together by Fela's younger brother Beko – was a triumph and drew
> attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.
> 
> *
> *And despite the polishing Laswell gave `Army Arrangement' it marked a
> return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also `Cross
> Examination', his strongest song since `Colonial Mentality'. It may lack the
> raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but `Army' still ranks
> alongside his best, his most politically outspoken work: `Why Black Men They
> Suffer' (`71), `No Bread' (`76), `Sorrow Tears And Blood' (`78), `Vagabonds
> In Power' and `International Thief Third' (both `79) and `Original
> Sufferhead' (`81). Before he called his music Afrobeat; now it's classical
> African.*
> *
> *
> *
> *
> Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects. I
> suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I don't
> know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I certainly come from
>  a different culture.....*
> *
> 
> http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/fela-kuti-the-king-of-afrobeat-part-two/
>

------------------------------------

The Bill Laswell mailing list - Nothing is true, everything is permitted.Yahoo! Groups Links

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cha2uke | 2 Dec 16:19 2010
Picon

Re: Fela Kuti

posted nearly the same moment as my 1st one, therefore see now only, so

- no, no additional facts/details here, only opinion, such as
- how right Bill Laswell's judgment is to avoid speech, to let music do it and how the misunderstingers
linger when the complications of the spoken words come into the game can be seen right in this case, to the
amusement of the impartial observer, where the allegation is "This is not what I wanted. This is not
African music." and his reply is: "What the hell does he want, I brought in a Senegalese percussionist.",
where you cannot but smile about the dilemma when sides are in controversy
- forgot to state that "No Agreement" (good title) and Mr. Follow Follow on Celluloid releases had no
Material band camp members and I regretted that

--- In laswell <at> yahoogroups.com, Dave Brunelle <dave.brunelle <at> ...> wrote:
>
> you ever get the feeling that some people (like the cat that wrote this
> article) don't actually listen to the things they're writing about, instead
> relying on hearsay and what other persons have already written?  nice to see
> that crappy journalism and bad fact-checking isn't something specific to the
> internet age.
> 
> BUT, i still enjoy reading pieces like this for the history of it and to see
> if the story has changed over time.
> 
> does anyone else remember the exact story? I seem to recall that they WERE
> supposed to work together but Fela got arrested right before boarding his
> flight. Celluloid wanted the project done, Bill thought that
> Fela's declining skills showed and he did what he thought he needed to? All
> things considered in retrospect I think, considering how some people slam
> what Bill does on projects like this, I thought it was pretty tasteful and
> well done.
> 
> On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 8:33 AM, haas alain <alain.haas <at> ...> wrote:
> 
> > "being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell"
> >
> > Hum ... really ?
> >
> > -------- Message original --------
> > Sujet : [laswell] Fela Kuti
> > De : Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> ...>
> > Pour : laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
> > Date : 01/12/2010 01:27
> > >
> > >
> > > /....He's still bitter about `Army Arrangement'– an album released
> > > while he was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill
> > > Laswell, with Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums.
> > > "There was no permission, no asking. He didn't see the beauty of what
> > > I'd done."
> > >
> > > Nevertheless he admits that, as the military's aim in imprisoning him
> > > was to stop his music, the album's release – with Egypt 80 led by
> > > Fela's son Femi and held together by Fela's younger brother Beko – was
> > > a triumph and drew attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.
> > >
> > > /
> > > /And despite the polishing Laswell gave `Army Arrangement' it marked a
> > > return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also `Cross
> > > Examination', his strongest song since `Colonial Mentality'. It may
> > > lack the raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but
> > > `Army' still ranks alongside his best, his most politically outspoken
> > > work: `Why Black Men They Suffer' (`71), `No Bread' (`76), `Sorrow
> > > Tears And Blood' (`78), `Vagabonds In Power' and `International Thief
> > > Third' (both `79) and `Original Sufferhead' (`81). Before he called
> > > his music Afrobeat; now it's classical African./
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects.
> > > I suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I
> > > don't know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I
> > > certainly come from  a different culture...../
> > > /
> > >
> > >
> > http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/fela-kuti-the-king-of-afrobeat-part-two/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------
> >
> > The Bill Laswell mailing list - Nothing is true, everything is
> > permitted.Yahoo! Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
> >
> 
> 
> -- 
> Dave
>

------------------------------------

The Bill Laswell mailing list - Nothing is true, everything is permitted.Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/laswell/

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Jonathan Smith | 2 Dec 17:08 2010
Picon

Re: Re: Fela Kuti

That article was not great journalism at all, but I was interested to hear Fela Kuti's opinions.

This is Bill Laswell's side of the story, which I had read before, but I'd not read that interview by Fela Kuti. Obviously, Fela Kuti was very colourful character and a seminal musician in his time but no one would accuse him of excessive humility.

Laswell was not in a position to consult Fela Kuti and under pressure to release what he considered sub standard material and a journalist appears to have made accusations which were unfounded, but repeated in the media at the time (one so-called world music critic was said that Laswell should be put in prison to stop him remixing African artists!)

At that time in Paris in ‘84 or ‘85, Celluloid was the label that all African, or West African, everybody, was going to them for some reason. And they got ahold of Fela’s contract and his catalog and they just started calling the shots. Fela was on his way to New York to come and we were going to mix the record when he came.

On the way to New York, getting on the plane in Nigeria, he had something like ten grand in cash in US dollars, I think. He was immediately put in jail, the tapes arrived, and the Celluloid people were like, ‘Well great, let’s go ahead and mix it. Let’s capitalize on the fact that he’s in jail, we’ll get more press.’ But the tapes I received weren’t really musical or necessarily well-recorded. So we felt that if we just mixed it, it wouldn’t bring anything new to what Fela’s legend was. So we added Sly Dunbar, Bernie Worrell and Aiyb Dieng from Senegal.

Did you ever meet Fela?

[When he got out of jail,] Fela did a press tour in the States. He was at the Gramercy Hotel in New York. I went there and he was sitting around his room wearing a shirt and some underwear and sitting in a lotus position on the couch, a bunch of people coming in and out, and we spoke for a few minutes. He was kind of amazed that I would come because he had said that he didn’t like what I had done. There was an African magazine where I was quoted as saying, “It’s much better to mix an artist’s work if they’re in prison.” Some really stupid shit. And that freaked him out. And he was saying that there was a sound that wasn’t African that I put on the album. [But] it was a Senegalese drummer, so of course it’s African.

It’s very interesting because everybody thought I wouldn’t go meet him, so I just went in anyway. By that time he had started to deteriorate, he wasn’t as strong. You could feel he wasn’t the person he was. He just
wasn’t the presence that he was before. And it showed in the music too, because in the ’70s Fela had a really strong band and then he just got kind of more lighter and lighter. And then a lot of weird shit came into that scene… That was a heavy scene. They were around some heavy people. Cuz he was the BIGGEST thing happening in Nigeria, and there’s some heavy stuff in Nigeria—not all positive.

http://www.arthurmag.com/2009/11/02/bill-laswell-on-fela-kuti-1999/



On 2 December 2010 23:19, cha2uke <cha2uke <at> yahoo.com> wrote:
 

posted nearly the same moment as my 1st one, therefore see now only, so

- no, no additional facts/details here, only opinion, such as
- how right Bill Laswell's judgment is to avoid speech, to let music do it and how the misunderstingers linger when the complications of the spoken words come into the game can be seen right in this case, to the amusement of the impartial observer, where the allegation is "This is not what I wanted. This is not African music." and his reply is: "What the hell does he want, I brought in a Senegalese percussionist.", where you cannot but smile about the dilemma when sides are in controversy
- forgot to state that "No Agreement" (good title) and Mr. Follow Follow on Celluloid releases had no Material band camp members and I regretted that



--- In laswell <at> yahoogroups.com, Dave Brunelle <dave.brunelle <at> ...> wrote:
>
> you ever get the feeling that some people (like the cat that wrote this
> article) don't actually listen to the things they're writing about, instead
> relying on hearsay and what other persons have already written? nice to see
> that crappy journalism and bad fact-checking isn't something specific to the
> internet age.
>
> BUT, i still enjoy reading pieces like this for the history of it and to see
> if the story has changed over time.
>
> does anyone else remember the exact story? I seem to recall that they WERE
> supposed to work together but Fela got arrested right before boarding his
> flight. Celluloid wanted the project done, Bill thought that
> Fela's declining skills showed and he did what he thought he needed to? All
> things considered in retrospect I think, considering how some people slam
> what Bill does on projects like this, I thought it was pretty tasteful and
> well done.
>
> On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 8:33 AM, haas alain <alain.haas <at> ...> wrote:
>
> > "being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell"
> >
> > Hum ... really ?
> >
> > -------- Message original --------
> > Sujet : [laswell] Fela Kuti
> > De : Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> ...>

> > Pour : laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
> > Date : 01/12/2010 01:27
> > >
> > >
> > > /....He's still bitter about `Army Arrangement'– an album released
> > > while he was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill
> > > Laswell, with Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums.
> > > "There was no permission, no asking. He didn't see the beauty of what
> > > I'd done."
> > >
> > > Nevertheless he admits that, as the military's aim in imprisoning him
> > > was to stop his music, the album's release – with Egypt 80 led by
> > > Fela's son Femi and held together by Fela's younger brother Beko – was
> > > a triumph and drew attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.
> > >
> > > /
> > > /And despite the polishing Laswell gave `Army Arrangement' it marked a
> > > return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also `Cross
> > > Examination', his strongest song since `Colonial Mentality'. It may
> > > lack the raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but
> > > `Army' still ranks alongside his best, his most politically outspoken
> > > work: `Why Black Men They Suffer' (`71), `No Bread' (`76), `Sorrow
> > > Tears And Blood' (`78), `Vagabonds In Power' and `International Thief
> > > Third' (both `79) and `Original Sufferhead' (`81). Before he called
> > > his music Afrobeat; now it's classical African./
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects.
> > > I suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I
> > > don't know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I
> > > certainly come from a different culture...../
> > > /
> > >
> > >
> > http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/fela-kuti-the-king-of-afrobeat-part-two/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------
> >
> > The Bill Laswell mailing list - Nothing is true, everything is
> > permitted.Yahoo! Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Dave
>




__._,_.___


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Your email settings: Individual Email|Traditional
Change settings via the Web (Yahoo! ID required)
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__,_._,___
Jonathan Smith | 2 Dec 17:13 2010
Picon

Re: Re: Fela Kuti

This must be the original but I haven't listened to it.


It isn't one of my favourite Bill Laswell productions.

On 3 December 2010 00:08, Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> gmail.com> wrote:
That article was not great journalism at all, but I was interested to hear Fela Kuti's opinions.

This is Bill Laswell's side of the story, which I had read before, but I'd not read that interview by Fela Kuti. Obviously, Fela Kuti was very colourful character and a seminal musician in his time but no one would accuse him of excessive humility.

Laswell was not in a position to consult Fela Kuti and under pressure to release what he considered sub standard material and a journalist appears to have made accusations which were unfounded, but repeated in the media at the time (one so-called world music critic was said that Laswell should be put in prison to stop him remixing African artists!)

At that time in Paris in ‘84 or ‘85, Celluloid was the label that all African, or West African, everybody, was going to them for some reason. And they got ahold of Fela’s contract and his catalog and they just started calling the shots. Fela was on his way to New York to come and we were going to mix the record when he came.

On the way to New York, getting on the plane in Nigeria, he had something like ten grand in cash in US dollars, I think. He was immediately put in jail, the tapes arrived, and the Celluloid people were like, ‘Well great, let’s go ahead and mix it. Let’s capitalize on the fact that he’s in jail, we’ll get more press.’ But the tapes I received weren’t really musical or necessarily well-recorded. So we felt that if we just mixed it, it wouldn’t bring anything new to what Fela’s legend was. So we added Sly Dunbar, Bernie Worrell and Aiyb Dieng from Senegal.

Did you ever meet Fela?

[When he got out of jail,] Fela did a press tour in the States. He was at the Gramercy Hotel in New York. I went there and he was sitting around his room wearing a shirt and some underwear and sitting in a lotus position on the couch, a bunch of people coming in and out, and we spoke for a few minutes. He was kind of amazed that I would come because he had said that he didn’t like what I had done. There was an African magazine where I was quoted as saying, “It’s much better to mix an artist’s work if they’re in prison.” Some really stupid shit. And that freaked him out. And he was saying that there was a sound that wasn’t African that I put on the album. [But] it was a Senegalese drummer, so of course it’s African.

It’s very interesting because everybody thought I wouldn’t go meet him, so I just went in anyway. By that time he had started to deteriorate, he wasn’t as strong. You could feel he wasn’t the person he was. He just
wasn’t the presence that he was before. And it showed in the music too, because in the ’70s Fela had a really strong band and then he just got kind of more lighter and lighter. And then a lot of weird shit came into that scene… That was a heavy scene. They were around some heavy people. Cuz he was the BIGGEST thing happening in Nigeria, and there’s some heavy stuff in Nigeria—not all positive.

http://www.arthurmag.com/2009/11/02/bill-laswell-on-fela-kuti-1999/



On 2 December 2010 23:19, cha2uke <cha2uke <at> yahoo.com> wrote:
 

posted nearly the same moment as my 1st one, therefore see now only, so

- no, no additional facts/details here, only opinion, such as
- how right Bill Laswell's judgment is to avoid speech, to let music do it and how the misunderstingers linger when the complications of the spoken words come into the game can be seen right in this case, to the amusement of the impartial observer, where the allegation is "This is not what I wanted. This is not African music." and his reply is: "What the hell does he want, I brought in a Senegalese percussionist.", where you cannot but smile about the dilemma when sides are in controversy
- forgot to state that "No Agreement" (good title) and Mr. Follow Follow on Celluloid releases had no Material band camp members and I regretted that



--- In laswell <at> yahoogroups.com, Dave Brunelle <dave.brunelle <at> ...> wrote:
>
> you ever get the feeling that some people (like the cat that wrote this
> article) don't actually listen to the things they're writing about, instead
> relying on hearsay and what other persons have already written? nice to see
> that crappy journalism and bad fact-checking isn't something specific to the
> internet age.
>
> BUT, i still enjoy reading pieces like this for the history of it and to see
> if the story has changed over time.
>
> does anyone else remember the exact story? I seem to recall that they WERE
> supposed to work together but Fela got arrested right before boarding his
> flight. Celluloid wanted the project done, Bill thought that
> Fela's declining skills showed and he did what he thought he needed to? All
> things considered in retrospect I think, considering how some people slam
> what Bill does on projects like this, I thought it was pretty tasteful and
> well done.
>
> On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 8:33 AM, haas alain <alain.haas <at> ...> wrote:
>
> > "being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell"
> >
> > Hum ... really ?
> >
> > -------- Message original --------
> > Sujet : [laswell] Fela Kuti
> > De : Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> ...>

> > Pour : laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
> > Date : 01/12/2010 01:27
> > >
> > >
> > > /....He's still bitter about `Army Arrangement'– an album released
> > > while he was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill
> > > Laswell, with Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums.
> > > "There was no permission, no asking. He didn't see the beauty of what
> > > I'd done."
> > >
> > > Nevertheless he admits that, as the military's aim in imprisoning him
> > > was to stop his music, the album's release – with Egypt 80 led by
> > > Fela's son Femi and held together by Fela's younger brother Beko – was
> > > a triumph and drew attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.
> > >
> > > /
> > > /And despite the polishing Laswell gave `Army Arrangement' it marked a
> > > return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also `Cross
> > > Examination', his strongest song since `Colonial Mentality'. It may
> > > lack the raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but
> > > `Army' still ranks alongside his best, his most politically outspoken
> > > work: `Why Black Men They Suffer' (`71), `No Bread' (`76), `Sorrow
> > > Tears And Blood' (`78), `Vagabonds In Power' and `International Thief
> > > Third' (both `79) and `Original Sufferhead' (`81). Before he called
> > > his music Afrobeat; now it's classical African./
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects.
> > > I suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I
> > > don't know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I
> > > certainly come from a different culture...../
> > > /
> > >
> > >
> > http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/fela-kuti-the-king-of-afrobeat-part-two/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------
> >
> > The Bill Laswell mailing list - Nothing is true, everything is
> > permitted.Yahoo! Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Dave
>





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__,_._,___
dave.brunelle | 2 Dec 17:12 2010
Picon

Re: Re: Fela Kuti



Beautiful - thanks for that. That's exactly the interview I was thinking of.

There's a whole slew of stuff like this I'd like to personally ask Bill, but it just never seems right to grill him the times I'm around him. Its always business or just hanging out. Either way the situation isn't one where I want to start acting like an interviewer.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

From: Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> gmail.com>
Sender: laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2010 00:08:11 +0800
To: <laswell <at> yahoogroups.com>
ReplyTo: laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [laswell] Re: Fela Kuti

 

That article was not great journalism at all, but I was interested to hear Fela Kuti's opinions.


This is Bill Laswell's side of the story, which I had read before, but I'd not read that interview by Fela Kuti. Obviously, Fela Kuti was very colourful character and a seminal musician in his time but no one would accuse him of excessive humility.

Laswell was not in a position to consult Fela Kuti and under pressure to release what he considered sub standard material and a journalist appears to have made accusations which were unfounded, but repeated in the media at the time (one so-called world music critic was said that Laswell should be put in prison to stop him remixing African artists!)

At that time in Paris in ‘84 or ‘85, Celluloid was the label that all African, or West African, everybody, was going to them for some reason. And they got ahold of Fela’s contract and his catalog and they just started calling the shots. Fela was on his way to New York to come and we were going to mix the record when he came.

On the way to New York, getting on the plane in Nigeria, he had something like ten grand in cash in US dollars, I think. He was immediately put in jail, the tapes arrived, and the Celluloid people were like, ‘Well great, let’s go ahead and mix it. Let’s capitalize on the fact that he’s in jail, we’ll get more press.’ But the tapes I received weren’t really musical or necessarily well-recorded. So we felt that if we just mixed it, it wouldn’t bring anything new to what Fela’s legend was. So we added Sly Dunbar, Bernie Worrell and Aiyb Dieng from Senegal.

Did you ever meet Fela?

[When he got out of jail,] Fela did a press tour in the States. He was at the Gramercy Hotel in New York. I went there and he was sitting around his room wearing a shirt and some underwear and sitting in a lotus position on the couch, a bunch of people coming in and out, and we spoke for a few minutes. He was kind of amazed that I would come because he had said that he didn’t like what I had done. There was an African magazine where I was quoted as saying, “It’s much better to mix an artist’s work if they’re in prison.” Some really stupid shit. And that freaked him out. And he was saying that there was a sound that wasn’t African that I put on the album. [But] it was a Senegalese drummer, so of course it’s African.

It’s very interesting because everybody thought I wouldn’t go meet him, so I just went in anyway. By that time he had started to deteriorate, he wasn’t as strong. You could feel he wasn’t the person he was. He just
wasn’t the presence that he was before. And it showed in the music too, because in the ’70s Fela had a really strong band and then he just got kind of more lighter and lighter. And then a lot of weird shit came into that scene… That was a heavy scene. They were around some heavy people. Cuz he was the BIGGEST thing happening in Nigeria, and there’s some heavy stuff in Nigeria—not all positive.

http://www.arthurmag.com/2009/11/02/bill-laswell-on-fela-kuti-1999/



On 2 December 2010 23:19, cha2uke <cha2uke <at> yahoo.com> wrote:
 

posted nearly the same moment as my 1st one, therefore see now only, so

- no, no additional facts/details here, only opinion, such as
- how right Bill Laswell's judgment is to avoid speech, to let music do it and how the misunderstingers linger when the complications of the spoken words come into the game can be seen right in this case, to the amusement of the impartial observer, where the allegation is "This is not what I wanted. This is not African music." and his reply is: "What the hell does he want, I brought in a Senegalese percussionist.", where you cannot but smile about the dilemma when sides are in controversy
- forgot to state that "No Agreement" (good title) and Mr. Follow Follow on Celluloid releases had no Material band camp members and I regretted that



--- In laswell <at> yahoogroups.com, Dave Brunelle <dave.brunelle <at> ...> wrote:
>
> you ever get the feeling that some people (like the cat that wrote this
> article) don't actually listen to the things they're writing about, instead
> relying on hearsay and what other persons have already written? nice to see
> that crappy journalism and bad fact-checking isn't something specific to the
> internet age.
>
> BUT, i still enjoy reading pieces like this for the history of it and to see
> if the story has changed over time.
>
> does anyone else remember the exact story? I seem to recall that they WERE
> supposed to work together but Fela got arrested right before boarding his
> flight. Celluloid wanted the project done, Bill thought that
> Fela's declining skills showed and he did what he thought he needed to? All
> things considered in retrospect I think, considering how some people slam
> what Bill does on projects like this, I thought it was pretty tasteful and
> well done.
>
> On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 8:33 AM, haas alain <alain.haas <at> ...> wrote:
>
> > "being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell"
> >
> > Hum ... really ?
> >
> > -------- Message original --------
> > Sujet : [laswell] Fela Kuti
> > De : Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> ...>

> > Pour : laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
> > Date : 01/12/2010 01:27
> > >
> > >
> > > /....He's still bitter about `Army Arrangement'– an album released
> > > while he was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill
> > > Laswell, with Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums.
> > > "There was no permission, no asking. He didn't see the beauty of what
> > > I'd done."
> > >
> > > Nevertheless he admits that, as the military's aim in imprisoning him
> > > was to stop his music, the album's release – with Egypt 80 led by
> > > Fela's son Femi and held together by Fela's younger brother Beko – was
> > > a triumph and drew attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.
> > >
> > > /
> > > /And despite the polishing Laswell gave `Army Arrangement' it marked a
> > > return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also `Cross
> > > Examination', his strongest song since `Colonial Mentality'. It may
> > > lack the raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but
> > > `Army' still ranks alongside his best, his most politically outspoken
> > > work: `Why Black Men They Suffer' (`71), `No Bread' (`76), `Sorrow
> > > Tears And Blood' (`78), `Vagabonds In Power' and `International Thief
> > > Third' (both `79) and `Original Sufferhead' (`81). Before he called
> > > his music Afrobeat; now it's classical African./
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects.
> > > I suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I
> > > don't know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I
> > > certainly come from a different culture...../
> > > /
> > >
> > >
> > http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/fela-kuti-the-king-of-afrobeat-part-two/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------
> >
> > The Bill Laswell mailing list - Nothing is true, everything is
> > permitted.Yahoo! Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Dave
>




__._,_.___

The Bill Laswell mailing list - Nothing is true, everything is permitted.



Your email settings: Individual Email|Traditional
Change settings via the Web (Yahoo! ID required)
Change settings via email: Switch delivery to Daily Digest | Switch to Fully Featured
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__,_._,___
dave.brunelle | 2 Dec 17:13 2010
Picon

Re: Re: Fela Kuti



I agree...I have to say that a number of the Celluloid era recordings (particularly African related ones) just sound dated and don't work well for me anymore.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

From: Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> gmail.com>
Sender: laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2010 00:13:37 +0800
To: <laswell <at> yahoogroups.com>
ReplyTo: laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [laswell] Re: Fela Kuti

 

This must be the original but I haven't listened to it.



It isn't one of my favourite Bill Laswell productions.

On 3 December 2010 00:08, Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> gmail.com> wrote:
That article was not great journalism at all, but I was interested to hear Fela Kuti's opinions.

This is Bill Laswell's side of the story, which I had read before, but I'd not read that interview by Fela Kuti. Obviously, Fela Kuti was very colourful character and a seminal musician in his time but no one would accuse him of excessive humility.

Laswell was not in a position to consult Fela Kuti and under pressure to release what he considered sub standard material and a journalist appears to have made accusations which were unfounded, but repeated in the media at the time (one so-called world music critic was said that Laswell should be put in prison to stop him remixing African artists!)

At that time in Paris in ‘84 or ‘85, Celluloid was the label that all African, or West African, everybody, was going to them for some reason. And they got ahold of Fela’s contract and his catalog and they just started calling the shots. Fela was on his way to New York to come and we were going to mix the record when he came.

On the way to New York, getting on the plane in Nigeria, he had something like ten grand in cash in US dollars, I think. He was immediately put in jail, the tapes arrived, and the Celluloid people were like, ‘Well great, let’s go ahead and mix it. Let’s capitalize on the fact that he’s in jail, we’ll get more press.’ But the tapes I received weren’t really musical or necessarily well-recorded. So we felt that if we just mixed it, it wouldn’t bring anything new to what Fela’s legend was. So we added Sly Dunbar, Bernie Worrell and Aiyb Dieng from Senegal.

Did you ever meet Fela?

[When he got out of jail,] Fela did a press tour in the States. He was at the Gramercy Hotel in New York. I went there and he was sitting around his room wearing a shirt and some underwear and sitting in a lotus position on the couch, a bunch of people coming in and out, and we spoke for a few minutes. He was kind of amazed that I would come because he had said that he didn’t like what I had done. There was an African magazine where I was quoted as saying, “It’s much better to mix an artist’s work if they’re in prison.” Some really stupid shit. And that freaked him out. And he was saying that there was a sound that wasn’t African that I put on the album. [But] it was a Senegalese drummer, so of course it’s African.

It’s very interesting because everybody thought I wouldn’t go meet him, so I just went in anyway. By that time he had started to deteriorate, he wasn’t as strong. You could feel he wasn’t the person he was. He just
wasn’t the presence that he was before. And it showed in the music too, because in the ’70s Fela had a really strong band and then he just got kind of more lighter and lighter. And then a lot of weird shit came into that scene… That was a heavy scene. They were around some heavy people. Cuz he was the BIGGEST thing happening in Nigeria, and there’s some heavy stuff in Nigeria—not all positive.

http://www.arthurmag.com/2009/11/02/bill-laswell-on-fela-kuti-1999/



On 2 December 2010 23:19, cha2uke <cha2uke <at> yahoo.com> wrote:
 

posted nearly the same moment as my 1st one, therefore see now only, so

- no, no additional facts/details here, only opinion, such as
- how right Bill Laswell's judgment is to avoid speech, to let music do it and how the misunderstingers linger when the complications of the spoken words come into the game can be seen right in this case, to the amusement of the impartial observer, where the allegation is "This is not what I wanted. This is not African music." and his reply is: "What the hell does he want, I brought in a Senegalese percussionist.", where you cannot but smile about the dilemma when sides are in controversy
- forgot to state that "No Agreement" (good title) and Mr. Follow Follow on Celluloid releases had no Material band camp members and I regretted that



--- In laswell <at> yahoogroups.com, Dave Brunelle <dave.brunelle <at> ...> wrote:
>
> you ever get the feeling that some people (like the cat that wrote this
> article) don't actually listen to the things they're writing about, instead
> relying on hearsay and what other persons have already written? nice to see
> that crappy journalism and bad fact-checking isn't something specific to the
> internet age.
>
> BUT, i still enjoy reading pieces like this for the history of it and to see
> if the story has changed over time.
>
> does anyone else remember the exact story? I seem to recall that they WERE
> supposed to work together but Fela got arrested right before boarding his
> flight. Celluloid wanted the project done, Bill thought that
> Fela's declining skills showed and he did what he thought he needed to? All
> things considered in retrospect I think, considering how some people slam
> what Bill does on projects like this, I thought it was pretty tasteful and
> well done.
>
> On Thu, Dec 2, 2010 at 8:33 AM, haas alain <alain.haas <at> ...> wrote:
>
> > "being given the dance floor treatment by Bill Laswell"
> >
> > Hum ... really ?
> >
> > -------- Message original --------
> > Sujet : [laswell] Fela Kuti
> > De : Jonathan Smith <smithjm77x7 <at> ...>

> > Pour : laswell <at> yahoogroups.com
> > Date : 01/12/2010 01:27
> > >
> > >
> > > /....He's still bitter about `Army Arrangement'– an album released
> > > while he was in prison – being given the dance floor treatment by Bill
> > > Laswell, with Bernie Worrell on keyboards and Sly Dunbar on drums.
> > > "There was no permission, no asking. He didn't see the beauty of what
> > > I'd done."
> > >
> > > Nevertheless he admits that, as the military's aim in imprisoning him
> > > was to stop his music, the album's release – with Egypt 80 led by
> > > Fela's son Femi and held together by Fela's younger brother Beko – was
> > > a triumph and drew attention to the injustice of his imprisonment.
> > >
> > > /
> > > /And despite the polishing Laswell gave `Army Arrangement' it marked a
> > > return to form, featuring the excellent title track and also `Cross
> > > Examination', his strongest song since `Colonial Mentality'. It may
> > > lack the raw, energetic, freshly recorded quality of his past, but
> > > `Army' still ranks alongside his best, his most politically outspoken
> > > work: `Why Black Men They Suffer' (`71), `No Bread' (`76), `Sorrow
> > > Tears And Blood' (`78), `Vagabonds In Power' and `International Thief
> > > Third' (both `79) and `Original Sufferhead' (`81). Before he called
> > > his music Afrobeat; now it's classical African./
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > /
> > > Remixing Fela Kuti was one Bill Laswell's more controversial projects.
> > > I suppose they would have clashed had they really worked together. I
> > > don't know what to say about Fela Kuti's ideas about women. I
> > > certainly come from a different culture...../
> > > /
> > >
> > >
> > http://www.sabotagetimes.com/music/fela-kuti-the-king-of-afrobeat-part-two/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > ------------------------------------
> >
> > The Bill Laswell mailing list - Nothing is true, everything is
> > permitted.Yahoo! Groups Links
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Dave
>





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Change settings via the Web (Yahoo! ID required)
Change settings via email: Switch delivery to Daily Digest | Switch to Fully Featured
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__,_._,___
Richard Williams | 3 Dec 15:45 2010
Picon

Re: Fela Kuti


Remember too that Celluloid was Karakos, and that carries a lot of baggage.

Sent from my iPhone

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