Music producer and historian Uchenna Ikonne recently sat down to do an interview and promote his new book.
Reminiscing on Fela’s early music, Uchenna opined –
Fela is somebody who is often associated with a proudly and aggressively pro-African stance, but that’s not the way he was always perceived on the Nigerian music scene. In his early days, in fact, he was rejected by the mainstream because his music seemed too foreign.
Uchenna explained that Fela returned to the country during a period of cultural nationalism and the wave at the time was for artistes to express themselves through indigenous ways and Fela’s music didn’t fit the mold at first. According to Uchenna –
The idea of coming and trying to play jazz, it was seen as not really where the culture wanted to go. The first audience that accepted Fela at this time was kids who were listening to rock ‘n’ roll music, because they themselves felt like outcasts.
Uchenna Okonne was fielding questions as he promoted his new book series called Wake Up You! The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock, 1972-1977.
The book details the peak years of rock n’ roll music in Nigeria the way the author sees it.