Fela forever! Finding Fela: Afrobeat forever!
‘Finding Fela’… A title which might seem weird for the ones who embraced his music back in the day and never forgot him. But what a better one in reverse for the upcoming generations as for discovering one of the most influential artists of his time?!? A man who, like Bob Marley, Gil Scott-Heron and Nina Simone used his music as a medium to fight for causes he believed to be true. And this, despite the repression he would be the victim of during all his life in his native Nigeria…
“No individual better embodies African music of the 70’s and 80’s and its pivotal role in post-colonial political activism—than Fela Kuti. After quickly taking his native Nigeria by storm, the pioneering musician’s confrontational Afrobeat sound soon spread throughout the continent and beyond. Even as it made determined enemies of the repressive Nigerian military regime. As a result of continued persecution, increasingly unorthodox behavior, and, eventually, complications due to HIV, Kuti’s final years saw his musical output and influence wane.
Within the past decade, a resurgence of interest in his work has posthumously repopularized Kuti, culminating in the massively successful Broadway show FELA!, written by Jim Lewis and directed by Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones. Academy Award–winning director Alex Gibney interweaves the show’s skillful staging with a treasure trove of period interviews and hypnotic performances to recapture the essence of the man, his music, and his enduring cultural and political relevance…” B.T. (Sundance)
‘Finding Fela’ tells the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life, his music, his social and political importance. He (alongside drummer, Tony Allen), created a new musical movement, the Afrobeat, using that forum to express his revolutionary political opinions against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 70’s and 80’s. His influence helped bring a change towards democracy in Nigeria and promoted Pan Africanist politics to the world. The power and potency of Fela’s message is completely current today and is expressed in the political movements of oppressed people, embracing Fela’s music and message in their struggle for freedom.
Previously unreleased footage of his concerts and funeral (he died of AIDS in 1997) are included, as well as interviews with his children and musicians Questlove and Paul McCartney and featurings by the likes of a whole bunch of activists such as Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti and Tony Allen among others…
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and will be popping up at arthouse theaters throughout August. You can get the full sonic experience before you head to the box office. [Read More…]
Meanwhile, the soundtrack on Knitting Factory Records just arrives today (Jul. 29) with 16 tracks by the influential Nigerian musician and bandleader who fused West African rhythms, Jazz, Funk, High-Life Jazz and chants into a complex genre.