Written at the height of Fela Kuti’s clash with the authoritarian government of Nigerian in 1977, “Zombie” is just as much a dance floor scorcher as it is a critique of political oppression. “Zombie” is the term Kuti uses to describe the mindless Nigerian soldiers taking orders from an authoritarian government and military. The song came with consequence as it stirred unrest, fueling protests among a rambunctious Nigerian public. After Zombie was released, the Nigerian military unleashed its most violent attack on Kuti’s increasingly isolated compound, the Kalakuta Republic. This was the same attack that ultimately fatally wounded his mother, which spawned the title to another album scathing the military’s rule, Coffin for Head of State.
Needless to say, this track is a very rich and powerful symbol of a turbulent era in Nigeria’s history. For the last four years, Fatback DJs have played “Zombie” at our parties. We get lost in its call and response of the “ZOMBIE” refrain. There’s that beat, which is undeniably funky. And then that guitar – damn that guitar. Knowing it’s origins as a protest song only gives us more appreciation for how it captured the minds of a restless public AND continues to capture the imagination of the Fatback dance floors four years going.
Four years and a hundred sweaty dancefloors in the making, it’s The Fatback 4th Anniversary! Upstairs at Liv, defy the laws of gravity and common decency with THE FATBACK FUNK ODYSSEY. Deep cuts in deep space, y’all. Then, ease on down to the ground floor for the FATBACK FAMILY CIRCUS, featuring a second sound system, a third bar, and a menagerie of props and costume pieces to set the mood. Keep your eyes peeled for special guests, surprise performances, and that sudden, overwhelming realization that this must be the place.
Saturday, January 21 @ Liv (2001 11th St NW)
Doors at 10:00pm