I have a very dear friend by the name of Abena Koomson who has been a frequent collaborator at several of my events over the past three years. Last night, she invited me to watch the dress rehearsal of the new off-broadway musical based on the life of Fela Kuti that opens later this week. She’ll be playing Fela’s mum, Funmilayo Kuti. The show is being direct by the incomparable Bill T Jones (no relation but obviously the Joneses are waaaay cool.) and the score is set by New York’s reigning kings of Afrobeat ….Antibalas.
Holy shite is this a rockin show! I was a little worried about how they would execute the story line but hands down this was one of the best shows I’ve seen. It feels alot less like a theatrical interpretation and alot more like your actually watching Fela rock a live show with the Africa 70.
Antibalas is an amazing collective and Bill did a great job letting the songs tell the story. Getting to see and hear all these great jams performed live with dancers for some 2 1/2 hours was nothing short of amazing. The show stars Sahr Ngaujah as Fela. Though he’s easily got a good 40 pounds on the original artist he sounds uncannily like Ransome and his body movements are an eerie reminder of the man’s stage presence.
Growing up a junglist/dancehall geek I always had a love for rebel music but it wasn’t until a couple years ago when I moved to Brooklyn that I got hit in the head with Afrobeat music and the story of one of the greatest artists in recording history. The documentary on his life: Music is the Weapon is part of the “So You Wanna Move to Brooklyn” survival guide along with Shirley Chisholm 72′ Unbought and Unbossed.
ATTENDANCE IS A MUST!
I’ve asked special permission to post the following dutty discount so that pricing is not an obstacle barring you from attending. Regular tickets are like 75 ducati and you’re saving loads for having checked this blog. Don’t sleep.
Performance Schedule for FELA! A New Musical
August 5 – September 3
Tuesday 7pm | Wednesday-Friday 8pm | Saturday 2pm & 8pm | Sunday 2pm
September 5 – September 21
Tuesday 7pm | Wednesday-Friday 8pm | Saturday 2pm & 8pm | Sunday 2pm & 7pm
USE CODE SOCIAL1 for discount tix: $26.25
Three ways to buy:
or visit the box office at 37 Arts (450 W. 37th Street).
visit www.FELAOffBroadway.com for more info.
In this new musical, directed and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Bill T. Jones with a book by Jim Lewis and arrangements by Aaron Johnson and Antibalas, audiences are welcomed into the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Using his pioneering music (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies), Fela! explores his controversial life as artist, political activist and revolutionary musician. Featuring many of Fela’s most captivating songs and Bill T. Jones’s imaginative staging, this new show is a provocative hybrid of concert, dance and musical theater.