The music, dance and drama of Fela is yours to enjoy

Peter Waters

Fela is a musical drama not to be missed. If you would like to see a wholly unique production with original dance, theatre and music, you will come away wanting to hear more of Fela Kuti’s pioneering music  He combined  jazz and African rhythm into harmonic  variations, known as Afrobeat.

Fela WAS  originally performed on Broadway to great acclaim and won three Tony awards. It was performed in London by the National Theatre and was their first-ever musical.

Fela lived a controversial  life in his native country of Nigeria.He fought all his adult life against the military dictatorships in Nigeria, at great personal cost. The civil rights movement he founded was based in a commune for everyone’s protection but  after repeated raids by the military Fela was arrested and the commune burned to the ground. During that raid Fela’s mother  was thrown  from the roof. She later died  from her injuries. One of his most  famous songs  resulted  from this  tragedy.

Now to Fela’s music.  Bored with studying what  he  called “ancient  European  composers” at a music school in London he put together a band, making his own kind of music and writing his own lyrics.

While I never  saw him perform  “live” he was on the  BBC  a few  times.  You may be surprised  you might think the BBC  too stodgy to provide  Fela’s Afrobeat as entertainment. However,  British television had  many arts programs that provided a platform for interesting alternative artists.

Now everyone here who enjoys  inspiring  lyrics, outstanding  music and explosive dance  all wrapped around a profound human drama  will be able to see Fela at The Roxy this Thursday, January 13, at 7 pm. I’m sure you will remember this night for a long time.

Peter Waters is a local actor