Fela Kuti’s Musical Journey Into A PECULIAR Song!

How Famed AfroBeat Legend-FELA KUTI-Reminded Listeners On The Natural Intimacy With Water, Through His Legendary Song-"Water No Get Enemy!"

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You know that peculiar sound, when you hear it . From the very moment the radio comes on. There are the very first measures of the initial song. The sound of Black American musical artistry is distinct. It is the story of a peculiar people and our journey in sustaining, thriving, overcoming, re-creating, renewing within a hostile environment of the United States of America. Having been stripped of any identity, and forced to return to the very origin of Blackness, re-apply it within a foreign land, channeling that energy into movement’s time, while using it as a catalyst in order to create, anew-and over centuries and decades of time! This is the legacy of Black American people. Our music is our Her/History book. Of course, the world has come to like it. Even if people choose, or choose not to place the culture of people, with the actual sound, it cannot be denied that it is a reflection of our journey-our miracle, within the United States Of America.

Jazz. Blues. Soul. R&B. NeoSoul. Gospel. Ragtime. Hip Hop. Disco. Trap. Negro Spirituals. Funk. Funkadelic. House. Techno. Over 44 different musical genres and still counting. The very diversity of the music alone, let’s you know that it is Black America’s sound. Re-creation is key to the survival of a people who did not acquire a nation of their own-whose migration patters is intertwined with the creation of different forms of musical artistry. The feminine essence and energies, behind it (Black American women), are their own communal tellings of navigation, matriculation, and using the very basis of creativity for healing, and the continuation of her people!

Different artists from around the world have loved our sound, our beat, our rhythms, and our, musical storybooks! Oftentimes, they will take this sound and mix it with their own cultural music forms. Then, for other times, they will simply sing Black American music, using their Mother Tongue .

There are those who have traveled to be in the midst of Black America’s gardens. Even if they are there for a temporary time, they make sure to smell their perfumes and immerse with the people of a particular location. They come to know the her/history. They walk through certain areas of these peculiar gardens-even if it is just for a moment. What is always for sure is that they remember to add a face, a cultural image, a people to the very workings of these sounds. They always remember to do such! For they were not here during the makings of such peculiar origins. They had remained in the land, before. Therefore, it is only befitting (and suiting) for them to understand how Black American music had come about-even if they will never truly understand it. Yet, at least, the very acknowledgement was there. It’s crucial. When you acknowledge a people, their musical creation, and the her/history behind it, you can never simply see it as a gateway opportunity for economic develop-or to simply, make money! Not at all! You come to understand that there is more to that. There is more to seeing Black American music as a gateway for the financial advancement of self. On the contrary, you try to understand the connection, and why Heaven may have sent you there , in order to gain a small taste in the blossoming of such gardens.

Journeying to the land of Nigerian landscapes and soil, there was one man, who had made that journey. Having done the musical work of connecting a cultural face, with the sound of Funk, Soul, Jazz, and R&B, this peculiar group of people soon were not so distant. In a trip to the United States, during the 1970’s and the very hype of the Black Panther Party, one Nigerian son became acquainted with a particular facet of Black American culture. For that moment and for that time, he had heard the relevance of Funk, Soul, Jazz, and R&B. It was more than sources of entertainment. In fact, it was another chapter in the movement, journey, and travel of Black American people. The music had resonated with him. Clearly, he liked it enough to perform it. He enjoyed the rhythms of the Afro-Cuban sound. And then, there were traditional musical forms from Nigeria and Ghana, that were used. Adding to the mixing to this musical culinary. Within different songs, he used the Black American harmonies of Jazz, Funk, Soul, and R&B in connection with his Mother Tongue (Yoruba) and the political issues, that were happening in Nigeria. When you hear this name, you will know why it was so great. The name is none other than. . .

FELA KUTI

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20140818-fela-kuti-africas-bob-marley; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/401031541804749350/; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark

There are certain songs, which highlight the very career of a singer and musician. We know them too well, and even more, we understand why they are such iconic hits. Whether it be the texture in their vocal registry, or the rhythm in the composition. Then, there are the lyrics of the song and the level of depth, which enriches them. Whatever combination of elegance it may be, the very essence is that, we known an iconic record, when we hear one! For Fela Kuti, it was entitled, “Water No Get Enemy,” and my Darlings, it was truly, ICONIC! That’s one of the sacred nurtures of a particular song. When you hear it, you wonder why it was written. What is going on in society? What is happening in an artist’s personal life? What is going on in their musical growth and persona? The song, “Water, No Get Enemy” is an iconic one because it is more than, the self. It is a Universal sound! Water is Universal! And, when water becomes a political chess board for the selfishness of humanity, then problems, arise.

T’o ba fe lo we omi l’o ma’lo
If you wan go wash, na water you go use

T’o ba fe se’be omi l’o ma’lo
If you wan cook soup, na water you go use

T’o ri ba n’gbona o omi l’ero re
If your head dey hot, na water go cool am

T’omo ba n’dagba omi l’o ma’lo
If your child dey grow, na water he go use

If water kill your child, na water you go use
T’omi ba p’omo e o omi na lo ma’lo

Ko s’ohun to’le se k’o ma lo’mi o
Nothing without water

From the washing of our bodies, to the cooking of our food, water is the element of life. Healing. Childhood. The Life Cycle. Water often finds her way into our lives-from the very basics to the subconscious of our minds. Water is of a feminine persuasion. And, should a man be able to connect with this level of intimacy, he will see just how sacred she truly is. What is fascinating about Kuti’s performance of water’s gaze is how it serves as a reflection for Fela Kuti’s very intertwining with land and water-particularly, his nation of Nigeria. Water is clearly a liquid jewel for Nigerian landscapes. When a man begins to address issues of water within his home country, he is also addressing issues among women. If water is disrespected, or going through a particular imbalance, then so shall the women. Such is one of the underlying messages, happening within the song-should they be highlighted, or not. And, you can tell when a woman is out of balance; especially, when she has been removed from water. In fact, you notice a different vibe (physically, emotionally, and mentally) from those communities, persons, and nations, who have created holistic relationships with water.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/austinemedia.com/fela-kuti-biography-life-history/amp/; Edits By Lauren Kaye Clark

Ko s’ohun to’le se k’o ma lo’mi o
Omi o l’ota o
Water, e no get enemy
Omi o l’ota o (water e no get enemy)

If you fight am, unless you wan die (water e no get enemy)
I say water no get enemy (water e no get enemy)
If you fight am, unless you wan die (water e no get enemy)
Omi o l’ota o (water e no get enemy)

I dey talk of black man power (water e no get enemy)
I dey talk of black power, I say (water e no get enemy)
I say water no get enemy (water e no get enemy)
If you fight am, unless you wan die (water e no get enemy)
I say water no get enemy (water e no get enemy)
I say water no get enemy (water e no get enemy)
Omi o l’ota o (water e no get enemy)
Omi o l’ota o (water e no get enemy)

(Source: https://www.musixmatch.com/)

There is a sacred aura, that is titillating, when a musician, and artist, is able to convey the very existence of water as if it were human. There is a soft touch of personification taking place within this song. It moves us through a level of authenticity. There is a of spiritual underlying being conveyed within this song-many, which requires another writing-for another piece, through another time. Being that Kuti was Yoruba, it is not surprising his alliance with water. Humanity’s natural comfort and alliance with water is indicated throughout every component of this song. If water is not the enemy, then who really is the enemy? Ah! Now, that is a question, which has left to be explored within the very context of this song. Is is greed? Is it humanity’s lack of value for water? Is it power struggles among nations? Is it the sickening aura of those, who have become addicted to human ego-this psychotic notion that humanity “rules” over the Earth, and natural elements? If only they knew how reliant on her, we truly are?

The intimacy of man’s nature continues to play out within this very song. Our connection with water is a form of spiritual intimacy. It is physical intimacy for the cleansing of our minds, which impacts our emotions. Fela Kuti has clearly made peace with the water of his nation; and, what does it mean for the women of Nigeria? Another conversation for another day. Until then, let’s imagine water is our friend, for the “enemies” shall fade away!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQBC5URoF0s
https://open.spotify.com/album/7325GfKum2hDK231i3LqA7?highlight=spotify:track:43ile6cBzr9uaC4bJf6J3N
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