Fela Kuti – Upside Down

Oh my goodness, this song. So many good memories and happy people. I remember hearing an incredible Fela-inspired band, known to New Yorkers as EMEFE, cover this track. At the time, I was on a Fela Kuti listening kick but never dreamed of hearing this song live. The spirit of Fela was truly in the air. I felt that the band really understood what it was to be full of soul and love on a stage. Each musician was a spectacle on their own. While the band was huge, at least ten people on stage, each person had their own spotlight, so to speak. I loved how there was a shorter round man sitting on a stool in the middle of the stage with the huge band surrounding him, playing the African drum. Gosh it was so sexy, the whole thing.

I couldn’t really see the face of this one man, but he guested as a special vocalist for the track. He stomped every time the song called for one but instead of just putting his whole foot down, he did something of a full body stomp. Like every single bit of his body was waiting for that drum and stomp. And followed it with a beautiful wave of dance, like his body was a worm that followed the rhythm vertically. Keep in mind, this was my first time seeing a live Fela cover. I’ve never seen the show on Broadway, so I don’t know what the live Fela experience is. But this one seemed to do a pretty good job of giving me the bare bones idea.

It’s music like this that brings me back to earth. Yeah, I am a lover of all types. I love electronic, soul, funk, jazz, hip-hop…but this. This is really what gets me hoping that people always remember what it is to be present. I’m always caught up and stressed about tomorrow, nervous that I’ll forget something, writing notes on my hands. But then this tune comes on, and we have to relish in it. We’re forced. And for 15 minutes, we do just that.

Consider that.

Fela Kuti – Upside Down