Fela forever! Finding Fela: Afrobeat forever!
‘Finding Fela’… A title which might seem weird. At least 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 all time?!? A man who, like Bob Marley, Gil Scott-Heron and Nina Simone used his music as a medium. Thus fighting for the 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. Itself 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. And, by that, his music, his social and political importance. He, alongside drummer, Tony Allen, created a new musical movement: the Afrobeat. Thus 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, in the meantime, promoted Pan Africanist politics to the world.
The power and potency of Fela’s message is completely current today. It is expressed in the political movements of oppressed people who embraced Fela’s music and message in their struggle for freedom.
Previously unreleased footages of his concerts and funeral (he died of AIDS in 1997) are included. But also interviews with musicians such as Questlove and Paul McCartney. Not to mention contributions by the likes of a whole bunch of activists. From Femi Kuti to Seun Kuti. Not to mention Tony Allen among others…
The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 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, 2014). In other words, 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. Beginning with ‘Chop And Quench’…