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