finalist 2005 ARSC award
“Olaniyan has given us a profound and beautifully integrated book which culminates in a persuasive interpretation of the relationship between Fela’s apparently incompatible presentational selves. . . . The book’s accessible and evocative prose is in itself a kind of homage to Fela’s continual ability to seduce and astonish. . . . This is such an attractive book you feel like . . . ransacking your collection for Fela tapes.” —Karin Barber
“ . . . an indispensable companion to Fela’s music and a rich source of information for studies in modern African popular music.” —Akin Euba
Arrest the Music! is a lively musical study of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, one of Africa’s most recognizable, popular, and controversial musicians. The flamboyant originator of the “Afrobeat” sound and self-proclaimed voice of the voiceless, Fela used music, sharp-tongued lyrics, and derisive humor to challenge the shortcomings of Nigerian and postcolonial African states. Looking at the social context, instrumentation, lyrics, visual art, people, and organizations through which Fela produced his music, Tejumola Olaniyan offers a wider, more suggestive perspective on Fela and his impact on listeners in all parts of the world.
Placing Fela front and center, Olaniyan underscores important social issues such as authenticity, racial and cultural identity, the relationship of popular culture to radical politics, and the meaning of postcolonialism, nationalism, and globalism in contemporary Africa. Readers interested in music, culture, society, and politics, whether or not they know Fela and his music, will find this work invaluable for understanding the career of an African superstar and the politics of popular culture in contemporary Africa.
African Expressive Cultures—Patrick McNaughton, general editor