Awarded in memory of the Trinity Laban alum, political activist and musician, The Fela Anikulapo-Kuti scholarship will enable aspiring jazz trumpeter Alex Polack to continue his studies at Trinity Laban for the academic year 2021/22. The scholarship is generously funded by Partisan Records and supported by The Fela Anikulapo-Kuti Estate.
Recently nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Fela Kuti (1938-1997) studied composition and trumpet performance at Trinity Laban (then Trinity College of Music), arriving in 1958. He went on to become one of the World’s best-loved performers, pioneering the Afrobeat sound which continues to be a major influence on today’s charts. Through his music and his activism, Fela also became a leading figure within Nigerian and pan-African politics.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of some of Fela’s most beloved recordings, including his album ‘London Scene’ as well as the legendary record he made with Ginger Baker of Cream. Special versions of each will be reissued later this year via Partisan Records. The independent label, founded in 2007, are responsible for re-issuing Fela’s catalogue and also represent his Grammy-nominated eldest son Femi, as well as Femi’s own son Made.
Funded by Partisan Records in celebration of Fela’s remarkable legacy, the new scholarship will support current first-year jazz student Alex Polack. Like Fela, Birmingham-born Alex studies trumpet performance.
The scholarship, awarded on merit to a talented musician from African or of African heritage following nominations from the conservatoire’s Heads of Jazz and Composition, will enable Alex to continue studying on the conservatoire’s BMus Jazz degree programme.
Prior to studying at Trinity Laban, Alex was involved in several Birmingham-based music-making including Royal Birmingham Junior Jazz sessions and projects run by Jazzlines as part of Town Hall Symphony Hall’s programme.
In addition to the financial award, Alex will be benefit from bespoke artistic and industry focused mentoring from Partisan Records and Fela’s grandson Made Kuti, who is a fellow Trinity Laban alum.