Looking up the epic tune of Fela Kuti’s “Water No Get Enemy”

Here is a short story of epic tune “Water No Get Enemy” from the pen of Chris May


“From the brutalities exposed on 1974’s “Alagbon Close” -named after the headquarters of the Nigerian Criminal Investigation Department in Lagos- to the ridiculous. “Water No Get Enemy” took up the second side of Fela’s 1975 album Expensive Shit, whose title track chronicles in hilarious detail a failed attempt to charge him for possesion of weed – and ridicules the police involved in the bust.

“Water No Get Enemy” has a less contentious, but for its time no less thought-provoking lyrics. It’s based on a Yoruba proverb concerning the power of nature. Live in harmony with nature, Fela advises, and you will be live longer and wiser.

In “Water No Get Enemy” Fela also suggests that, if the Nigerian political opposition work with nature, their ultimate victory is assured.

The story behind Expensive Shit album is telling evidence of Fela’s determination to resist abuse of power by the Nigerian regime…

Fela would habitually face down soldiers tooled up with guns and machetes. He acted with same scant regard for his safety in confrontations with senior police or army officers.

Busted in 1974 – police raiding his home saw him swallow a joint (possession was then punishable in Nigeria by up to 10 years in jail) – Fela was taken to Alagbon Close and interviewed by succession of goons, who tried and failed to get him to fess up.

Fela was eventually taken in front of the ranking officer. “I’m going to talk you in my office” the man said. “You get office?” Fela asked sarcastically. “You foolish stupid bastard! You low-down sonofabitch, you dog, you goat.”

Fela spent the next three days in detention, while the police waited for him to produce an incriminating “sample. But he and his cell mates swapped their slop buckets around and finally, lacking any tangible evidence, the police had to let him go.

By Afrobeat Historian, Chris May

Here is another sample from method of Afrobeat Drummningmain drums pattern of Water No Get Enemy, is really one of the peak levels afrobeat drumming, though Tony Allen’s unique smooth and groovy playing contiunes as a afrobeat drumming’s “must”, Allen also plays a very interdependent bass drum and snare drum patterns that are very rare to hear on any other records…

Many tunes of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen are represented in

 new book of Anil Sahinoz ‘AFROBEAT DRUMMING’.

This book is basically about decoding and notating the grooves of master drummer Tony Allen.

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