Monday, 23 January 2012 03:00

Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon by Michael E. Veal

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Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon by Michael E. Veal

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"Michael Veal's book presents a vibrant multifaceted portrait of, as the subtitle explains, 'an African musical icon.'...With its exhaustive discography, archival photos, and vivid descriptions of Fela's life in performanceoboth on stage and offothis book provides a fantastic primer on one of the more intriguing musical personalities of the twentieth century." Ethnomusicology "Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon is both timely and bold... [It] has the potential of becoming a classic of African biography. It is written in an accessible style, rich in local color and musically informed... Veal's study is not the first book written of Fela. But it is by far the best." oVeit Erlman, Chair of Music History in the School of Music, University of Texas, Austin "I saw Fela perform in Nigeria nearly 30 years ago, and it remains my most powerful musical experience to this day. Michael Veal has written a fully comprehensive book on the life, music, and times of Nigeria's outstanding pop star, one which brings this complicated and controversial man back to life. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Fela." oDr. John Collins, Professor of Music at University of Ghana, Legon, and author of Musicmakers of West Africa and West African Pop Roots "[Veal] has demonstrated a tremendous command of the literature, not merely on Fela and the Nigerian music scene, but the Nigerian context in which Fela grew and matured, the Afro-Diasporic musical context, and the kind of global/world music framework that has yet to appreciate Fela's contribution.
 
This is more than a biography of one of Nigeria's most famous sons, it is a biography of an era, from the kind of pre-independence political and aesthetic culture of an anti-colonial elite through the trials and tribulations of the dictatorships of the late '80s and all of the '90s. Veal's command of the material is impressive, his knowledge of the music and music scene irreplaceable, and his contextualization of Fela's life essential to understanding the role that his music played." oWilliam Eric Perkins, editor of Droppin' Science and Senior Research Scholar with the African American Literacy and Culture Project "This is a well-written, well-researched, and highly entertaining biography." oMultiCultural Review "...a fascinating and thorough contextual biography...in his compelling book, Veal has produced a distinctive and thoroughly engaging analysis of afrobeat and its historical, ideological and material underpinnings. He is to be congratulated." oPopular Music "This exhaustive and objective profile, written by a Yale ethnomusicology professor, examines the Nigerian superstar's life and work from 1938 to his death in 1997...Veal has taken on the staggering task of portraying a musician/politician/rebel, and he executes it well." oPublishers Weekly
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