music pictures by Pat Blashill

The godfather of Nigerian funk, Fela Kuti, brought his band Egypt ’80 to play the Austin City Coliseum in 1986. He may have made this otherwise inexplicable stop in the middle of Texas partly as payback to a local musician and DJ named Dan Del Santo, who had been an avid supporter of African music and an advocate for Fela’s release from a Nigerian prison earlier in the decade. The show was a vast pageant, with lots of dancers and at least a dozen of the singer’s many wives seated behind the band. Fela was riveting and charismatic—I think the entire audience would have returned to Lagos with him that night if he had commanded us to do so.