Issue 1 : Fall 2010

About Author:

  • Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka

    Who is Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka?

    Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka teaches at the University of Kansas, Lawrence in Theatre department, and of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Also a choreographer/dancer, she writes poetry and enjoys...


Tonite Fela Performed - For Seun or Chip of the Old Block

Tonight, Fela performed!

Seun, Chip of the Old Block


I never knew I would see Fela

Perform again; after ten years.

Transforming transfiguration

The square shoulders tapering

Down to his narrow torso on

Compact seat. He returns.

It is Fela walking on stage

It¹s all Felatunde "Fela comes back"

Baba Afrobeat; Afro be it


Be it by the grab of the horn,

Or the flip wave of his hands

The bend, the twist, the lean

Or the swirl, all from the waist

The stomp of the feet, imperial

Or rhythmic taps to body sways

It is Fela jousting on stage

It¹s all Felatunde "Fela comes back"

Baba Afrobeat; Afro be it.


Deep throated melodies belted out

Sonorous from afar. It's The Voice.

A sharp turn of the head in precise

Command t'wards the band, faithful

Stalwarts of his father¹s steadfasts.

Wondering respect at this phenomen

This apparition 'yabbing' on stage

It's all memories - Fela's rushing back

Afro Baba Afrobeat; Afro be it


It is all Felatun... is back? Indeed?

His tilt of the head, confident respect

The full set of teeth tightly packed.

Seun's - his are white, even brilliantly

Set off by his dark brown full lips

Easily breaking into a smile, and a wink.

Away from the center, he joins the sax trio

Signals the acolyte to strut his blast, solo

Omo 'yi Afrobeat; Afro be it


When he grabs his sax and blows full

Throated multi complex vibrating notes

Running through his slim, passionate

Young body committed to sensible ideology

Astute critical observer of his time, he

Lambasts those unconscionable

"Many Things" pillaging Mother Africa.

Nkan nla Afrobeat; Afro be it


Hey, yes Seun is his own man

He is just a chip off the old block.



Poem II


Afrobeat Lives.


It is a symbiotic relationship

There they assemble, strategical

A grey-eye here, a stoop over there

Gaps of missing teeth positioned

Left of centre of the balding head.

Rag-tag remnants of evolving times,

Hanging on as, and support props for

The Youth at the centre. Electrifying.


But watch them handle and make

The instruments perform scincilating

Soul-stirring sounds. Metamorphosis.

Listen deep. Afrobeat rhythms live on still

Playing is a serious business of memories.

Experience hands the baton to the novice


There is a playfulness too between

This novice and the band of veterans

You know they wiped his runny nose,

Tapped rhythms to his unsteady steps

Picked him up from among the drums

Held his hands steady on the sax to pump.


You know they nurtured him grow. Dynamic.

Afro rhythm beats on. Scintillating unstoppable

Afrobeat Journal - Article

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simply poetic

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