The man behind Fela's album covers

LEMI GHARIOKWU IS THE MAN BEHIND ALL OF THE ICONIC ALBUMS FROM THE LATE MUSIC LEGEND FELA KUTI

I did the portrait and lo and behold he took me to Fela just like that,” says Ghariokwu, recalling his first meeting with Kuti at his house, the infamous Kalakuta Republic. “When he saw the portrait, Fela said, ‘wow, God damn it,’” he recalls, laughing. It was the first time I heard these words. Fela loved the portrait so much and wrote me a check for 120 naira — I used to earn 30 naira for my portrait work — but I rejected it. I said ‘I don’t want money, I give you the work from the bottom of my heart.
He was very surprised so he tore up the check, took a sheet of paper and wrote ‘please admit bearer to any show free of charge,’ continues Ghariokwu. That was my ticket to Kalakuta; that was the beginning [of the journey].
FELA 2.jpg

Lemi Ghariokwu is one of Africa's greatest visual artists. Lemi has a career spanning almost 40 years which includes designing 26 original cover images for the Nigerian musician legend, Fela Kuti. Lemi also has over 2,000 other album cover designs to his credit including covers for Bob Marley and a host of other music legends. Lemi's style to art is influenced by his deep philosophical views on social and political events. His designs are multi-faceted and combine a variety of styles and media.

He was a member of Fela's much loved Young African Pioneers. These self-proclaimed rebels supported Fela's music with their art, poetry and writings. Lemi relationship with Fela Kuti was very close and he was often mentored and advised by the Afrobeat legend. Ghariokwu's works are in the collection of art and afrobeat lovers around the world. His painting, Anoda Sistem, is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

LEMI GHARIOKWU

LEMI GHARIOKWU

That initial meeting in 1973 changed Lemi’s life. From there, he’d become one of Fela’s closest confidants despite being seventeen years his junior, and, as he puts it, the two were “comrades in arms.” They studied metaphysics together, they read Marcus Garvey and Malcom X, they discussed Pan-Africanism. “I became like his son,” Lemi says. “When he was recording a tune, I was close to the process, so by the time he recorded the album, it was almost a fait accompli for me to illustrate the album. Most of the time, ninety percent of the time, he’d say, ‘Lemi, it’s a motherfucker, man.’

FELA 5.jpg

For Lemi, a 20-year journey into friendship and artistic expression via the covers of Fela's ever expressive afro-beat music, started out in 1973; Lemi Ghariokwu was straight out of secondary school, spending his ample free time giving himself drawing assignments and making portraits for people in his neighborhood. Martial arts action film "Enter the Dragon," starring Bruce Lee, was a big hit at the time, and Ghariokwu was asked by a local bar owner to draw a poster of the movie for his pub. 

A few days later a journalist called Babatunde Harrison entered the parlor, saw the poster hanging on the wall and quickly asked to see the person who'd created it. When he met Ghariokwu, who was living next door with his parents, Harrison requested to see more of his drawings. Amongst them was an illustration of Nigerian afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti dancing on mud -- Ghariokwu had previously bought an album by Kuti called "Roforofo Fight" (roforofo means mud in Yoruba) and had given himself the task of creating his own version of the album cover. Impressed by Ghariokwu's work, Harrison, who was a friend of Kuti, asked Ghariokwu whether he could design album covers. The teen artist reluctantly said yes and then Harrison brought him a picture of Kuti to do a portrait as a test.

 

FELA 4.jpg

Still only sixty, Lemi is now organizing his archives and preparing to open a museum of his work in Lagos, where people continue to come to pay respect to what he and Fela created.

Fela didn’t respect anyone initially, but when you had something to offer, he showed so much respect. He gave me so much freedom of expression.

SIMISOLA- The Album

HERE IS ALL WE KNOW ABOUT UPCOMING ALBUM FROM NEW WAVE MUSICIAN SIMISOLA OGUNLEYE (SIMI)

I remember the first time I met Simi at Hardrock Cafe during a concert, she sang to me which resulted in me smiling too hard to close my mouth even after 20 minutes and of course I proceeded to have a typical fan moment with her and waited for a selfie, then she urged me with a smile not to leave in a hurry so the pictures can be taken; Wait! What? Did Simi just beg me to wait for a picture. Anyways that was just a testament to the realness she preached and so perfectly carves into her songs. It is no news that she has come a long way from singing strictly gospel songs to being an inspiration still to her 952,000 Instagram followers and bagging a 9Mobile ambassadorship deal.

Over the years she has repeatedly won our hearts over with first her remakes to already popular songs like Apologize (20nine), Grenade (Misbehaviour), Burn (Not okay) and the more recent ones like Tiff, Jamb Question, Smile for me; with a voice I would lightly describe as addictive, we the fans have been asking her for an album, new single, anything and she heard our pleas and has revealed the title of the album- SIMISOLA and the date.

 

That's all we have for now, as soon as we get the tracklist and all other vital information, this article will be updated.

Coke makes its entertainment industry debut

ONE OUR FAVOURITE BRANDS IN THE AREA OF INNOVATION HAS COLLABORATED WITH THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY BY CREATING NEW LABELS THAT DOUBLE AS WRISTBANDS FOR MUSIC FESTIVALS

The ad campaign was supposedly prompted by market research showing that four in 10 Romanian teens hadn't had Coke in the past month. The soda company now claims the efforts has already reached three quarters of that same group and boosted sales by more than 10 percent in the country.

You know just when I personally thought my favourite ad campaigns where "share a coke with" and the one that could easily be transformed into a Christmas decoration; then comes this one with its multi-purpose feature. 

Meet the 18-yr-old who produced a track on Kendrick Lamar's New Album

We know how much heat and sauce Kendrick Lamar's new album brought, i'm still over here fanning myself and staying directly under my office AC for some air; hi Kendrick! Anyways if Pride happened to be one of your favourite tracks off his critically acclaimed "Damn" album, then in this feature piece, you shall briefly meet the young man who produced it from his iPhone using an app called GarageBand, so if all you do with yours is take selfies, shame on you (catches my own sub).

Shortly after producing a Grammy nominated album last year, he is back and better *in bryson tiller's voice*. The LA producer, guitarist and soul singer who happens to be part of a band, The internet. Having only just graduated high school a few months ago, the sky is his starting up and he is currently living the up-coming artist's dream.

Through my good friend DJ Dahi. Dahi’s one of Kendrick’s house producers. We’ve been making music together, Dahi and I. We linked up through another friend that I’m writing with—I won’t say, because I’ll let the surprise be the surprise. We were making tracks and I had wrote something for his album he’s working on. One day he calls me like, ‘yo dude, I gotta get you in the studio with Kendrick.’ I’m hype, but I don’t dwell on it too much ‘cause I don’t like to look forward to stuff and then it doesn’t happen. A month or so goes by, [Dahi and I] link up on Halloween and we pull an all-nighter, we’re making beats the whole time. He asks me, ‘yo, what you doing tomorrow?’ I’m like, ‘oh nothing, I’m chilling. Why, what’s up?’ He’s like, ‘oh Kendrick has a session tomorrow, you down to roll through?’ I’m playing it cool like, ‘yeah dude, for sure. What time yo? Okay cool.
I go to the studio the next day, Kendrick’s there, whole gang’s there. When I walk in the room, the first thing Kendrick says to me, he says, ‘I seen your face in some music videos!’ Then I was like, ‘yeah, yours too, man!’ And the whole room started cracking up laughing. I just broke the ice. Initially, I was there as Dahi’s little homie. We were just jamming out, making stuff from scratch. Dahi’s programming drums live and I’m playing guitar and Kendrick’s freestyling.

His Twitter: @stevelacys

Instagram: @steve.lacy

Get the lyrics here

Is Ed Sheeran really quitting music?

THE "SHAPE OF YOU" STAR IS SPARKING RUMOURS ABOUT WANTING TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE THEREFORE QUITTING MUSIC

*plays "thinking out loud" in the background*, Why Ed, why??? First of all Ed Sheeran is a gift to this world and who knows maybe even beyond, his songs like Rihanna's I can play on repeat all day and not even feel weary of it, it gets me in the mood every single time. 

So Ed if you are reading this or ever get to, on behalf of all your fans worldwide we are sad, and demand a song so we can get over what we hopefully think is a rumour. According to, Joe.ie, sources close to the singer/songwriter told the Daily Star that quitting music altogether, or at least for an extended period of time, could be on the table once he’s finished his current tour, during which he played two gigs at Dublin’s 3 Arena earlier this month.

Ed has pretty much achieved everything there is to achieve in music. He absolutely loves what he does and is riding the wave of his success at the moment, but at the same time he wants a more normal life.

While we brood over whether or not our "baby daddy" is quitting music, watch below the visuals to our top 5 Ed sheeran songs