Fela! Off-Broadway

The life and music of the mega-talented Nigerian song writer and freedom fighter Fela Kuti land in New York City Off-Broadway.

From Wikipedia>

The musical style performed by Fela Kuti is called Afrobeat, which is essentially a fusion of jazz, funk and Traditional African Chant. It is characterized by having African style percussion, vocals, and musical structure, along with jazzy, funky horn sections. The “endless groove” is also used, in which a base rhythm of drums, muted guitar, and bass guitar are repeated throughout the song. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in funk and hip-hop. Some elements often present in Fela’s music are the call-and-response with the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. Fela’s songs were almost always over ten minutes in length, some reaching the twenty or even thirty minute marks. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside of Africa. His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin, although he also performed a few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela’s main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards but he also played the trumpet, guitar and made the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa. Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as his “underground spiritual game”.

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0 responses to “Fela! Off-Broadway”

  1. I love Fela Kuti – his music, his activism, his love of his people. I will probably travel to see this one.

  2. I cant imagine how they this could turned into a )ff-Broadway Play. I use to see the Great Fela at the Shrine and nothing could recreate the vibe that was in the air when he performed after a fatty which was about 2-3am just after Femi warmed it up. Please do it justice, please!

  3. I reveiwed the trailer and I have to say I’m not too impressed. Firstly, to tell his story is to tell the story of changes in Nigerian politics and economic issues in the country after Biafra. Secondly, to thrash out the military and its control is also key. Also, what happend to Egypt 80 ?!?!? This is most important cause Fela was tireless on his band and trained them to perfectione would stop the show immediatelty if he didnt feel they carried a note properly. That why is Femi is so multitalented (but slightly overdone now in his performances). Fela’s music was about Human Rights overall and he talked about Thatcher, Reagan, and Botha. What about the origin and development of Shrine – I remember diplomats that would go in cloak to the Shrine knowing its was a weed smoking lounge complete with alcohol and women scantly clad looking sexy and happiness abounded. Moreover, soldiers kicked it there too. It was the place to be without question. An open air cabana style club with off-the-chain music beating well into the morning -never to be relived in an Off-Broadway performance I guess.

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