Meet Sandra Isadore (nee Smith), known to be (according to Fela himself), one of the greatest influence in his life (with the other being his mother). She opened his mind to ideas and politics that drastically changed his song writing. He said, “Sandra gave me the education I wanted to know. She was the one who opened my eyes .For the first time I heard things I d never heard before about Africa! Sandra was my adviser. She talked to me about politics, history. She taught me what she knew and what she knew was enough for me to start on.” She was his mentor.
In 1969, Fela brought Koola Lobitos to Los Angeles to tour and record. They toured America for about eight months using Los Angeles as a home base. It was while in L.A. that Fela hooked up with a friend, Sandra Isadore, who introduced him to the writings and politics of Malcolm X, Eldridge Cleaver (and by extension the Black Panthers), and other proponents of Black nationalism and Afrocentrism. Impressed at what he read, Fela was politically revivified and decided that some changes were in order: first, the name of the band, as Koola Lobitos became Nigeria 70; second, the music would become more politically explicit and critical of the oppression of the powerless worldwide.(source)
Fela words to Sandra: One day I sat down at the piano in Sandra s house. I said to Sandra: Do you know what? I’ve just been fooling around. I haven’t been playing African music. So now I want to try to write African music for the first time. I went to play this new number. I didn’t know how the crowd would take the sound, you know. I just started. The club owner was behind the bar and he almost jumped over it. Fela, where did you get this ****ing tune from? Whaaaaat! The whole club started jumping and everybody started dancing. I knew then I d found the thing, man. To me, it was the first African tune I d written til then. The new song, which he titled My Lady s Frustration, was a homage to Sandra and an acknowledgment of the strain his career troubles placed on their relationship. My Lady’s Frustration is neither Fela’s old highlife-jazz or pure rhythm-and blues. Rather it is a hybrid style in which elements from both genres are arranged in a mutually complimentary way.
Source: Fela: The Life and Times of a Musical Icon by Micheal Veal.