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>Behind every fan, there’s a great woman

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>Sorry if this post is super NPR, multi-culti, neo-liberal but, you know, sometimes we can’t help our neo-lib impulses. SO SUE ME. Sandra Isadore has a mythic place in Fela Kuti’s legacy. A political and spiritual mentor to Kuti, she was an American who introduced Kuti to a number of ideas that shaped his politics. He always said that other than his mother, she was the most important educator in his life. Her most palpable contribution to Kuti though is on the song “Upside Down”, my favorite from Fela. It came out in 1976, about a year before Fela’s political music would cause his compound to be burned to the ground by the Nigerian government, and his mother killed. But you can hear the roots and beginnings of those politics on “Upside Down”. And it’s not Fela singing those politics, it’s Isadore. She gives a really weird, interesting vocal. Also her use of vocal repetition in the song should be an education to vocalists, it’s incredible.

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