Fela Anikulapo Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti; 15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997) was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist. He is regarded as the pioneer of Afrobeat, an African music genre that combines traditional Yoruba and Afro-Cuban music with funk and jazz. At the height of his popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers”. AllMusic described him as a “musical and sociopolitical voice” of international significance.
Kuti was the son of a Nigerian women’s rights activist, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. After early experiences abroad, his band, Africa 70, shot to stardom in Nigeria during the 1970s, during which he was an outspoken critic and target of Nigeria’s military juntas. In 1970, he founded the Kalakuta Republic commune, which declared itself independent from military rule. The commune was destroyed in a 1978 raid. Since his death in 1997, reissues and compilations of his music have been overseen by his son, Femi Kuti.