Experience the Thrill as an Afrobeat Legend and His Music Come Back to Life on the Stage in the Broadway Hit Fela!: January 13th (Thursday) & 17th (Monday) @ 7:00 p.m.
Former Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo Kuti was, and still is, idolized by his loyal listeners and fellow professional world music colleagues as well. During the length of his highly successful but politically stormy music career, this legendary composer/performer not only fathered the development of the Afrobeat genre, ultimately giving it the name by which it is still recognized today, but also managed to employ his music as a forceful catalyst in spreading the message of freedom and democracy to oppressed common citizens not only in Nigeria, but throughout the rest of the African continent as well. The musical Fela! brings this incredible life “to life” all to the wonderful sounds of Afrobeat, Kuti style no less! This National Theatre Production (2008), directed and choreographed by Brian T. Jones, won no less than 3 Tony Awards and was a smashing success both in London and on and off Broadway. Now it comes to Boston audiences in its original form in high-definition as a live motion picture, being a part of the critically acclaimed NT Live Series which features some of Britain’s top stage performances. Fela! is part of a worldwide Fela Kuti revival that is currently taking place, spawning re-releases of his recordings, musical tributes given in his name, the production of motion pictures and stage shows featuring his life and music, and the formation of numerous world music ensembles which continue to carry on the Afrobeat tradition. The general public is also embracing the currently ever-present Fela-themed parties, club nights, and T-shirts for sale.
Afrobeat is generally a fusion of jazz, funk (heavily influenced by James Brown), psychadelic rock, and various traditional and contemporary African music elements. Although it is Kuti that is most credited for the development of the genre, he himself stated that without his long time colleague and bandmate, drummer Tony Allen, Afrobeat would never have matured to the level that it did. It is a very complex style consisting of layer upon layer of rhythmic and melodic motifs executed by rather large instrumental/vocal ensembles. Kuti was known for his particular emphasis on the later, thus bringing to the stage the most bizarre and electrifying performances designed to set his audiences on fire. In fact, he was so effective in this regard with his anti-establishment- oriented musical themes that he infuriated the Nigerian government to no end. For speaking out against the military dictatorship that dominated his homeland, Kuti was repeatedly punished and terrorized, suffering severe beatings, the loss of dear relatives, friends ,and supporters, the destruction of private property, arrests, banishments, and even imprisonment. Furthermore, his own bandmates eventually turned on him as well. But Kuti had a soul of steel and continued to perservere through it all, performing well into the 80’s, not only in his native Nigeria but also throughout the rest of Africa, the United States and Europe. Come and experience Fela! on the big silver screen and be prepared to be blown away not only by the music, but the man, himself, as well. Fela Kuti lives again!
When: January 13th (Thursday) and 17th (Monday) @ 7:00 p.m.
Where: Coolidge Corner Theatre (Brookline)
Tickets: $20.00 (General Admission) / $17.00 (Coolidge Corner Theatre members)
Purchase tickets online OR On site
More Info: 617-734-2500 OR Visit their website