‘Fela!’ – produced by Jayz, Will and Jada
Back in the day…wait..lemme qualify that term “back in the day” cause I realize for most of you, back in the day might mean the 90’s. I mean back in the day when you had to clean what you smoked on a album cover cause it came with seeds. Clear? Ok….moving on…back in the day when I was newly separated with three young sons and money was tight… entertainment meant I could look forward to smoking a lil something and working on my special project. My special project was this: I cut pictures out of magazines like Ebony, Jet, Essence, National Geographic…black people of every imaginable hue, economic status, geographical location, age, and gender….then I would artistically (or so the smoke convinced me) place said pictures on a 8′ piece of plywood that I had the local lumber yard cut into the shape of the African continent. So every night, after I put the young men to bed…it was my time…..roll a joint of Panama Red, take out my pictures and work on my African collage.
In the background there was always music. All kinds of music. In fact, my neighbor used to joke that no one passing my apartment door could ever nail down exactly who lived within…cause the music was so varied. One of my favorite pieces of music during those evenings was by a young saxophonist from Nigeria who went by the name of Fela. Fela and his band played music that was labeled Afrobeat.. music was hotter than fish grease and twice as funky. Most tracks were at least ten minutes long and wrapped around your soul like a warm, pulsating blanket. Funny thing about the lyrics though……I didn’t pay too much attention to the lyrics……sorta like when I listen to Celia Cruz …the music and the passionate way it was presented is what moved me. Trust me when I tell you, those times were hard; it was that special project and the personal soundtrack that went with it that got me where I needed to be.
Fast forward to a couple nights ago when I got tix to the Broadway production of Fela (brought to us by Jay Z along with Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith). I already knew from first hand experience how funky the music was gonna be…what I didn’t know was the story behind the music…..and quite a story it is. Most of Fela’s recordings were instant hits all over Africa cause Fela was saying what needed to be said.
Im not gonna spoil it for you…….you need to see this for yourself. One thing I can tell you is that this is not your ordinary, run of the mill Broadway musical; be prepared to respond to the natural reaction that comes with rhythmic beats and choreography that is hypnotic… don’t suppress it, feel free to release your own energy with movement and sound; this play encourages that kinda response… and be prepared for how slick this musical history lesson is linked with events that are current. What’s that you say???….you don’t wanna spend your lil entertainment funds on a history lesson. Fair enough. Lemme call on my gurl Lauryn Hill and “add a mother f@cker so you ignorant nukkas hear me”….when is the last time you saw theater goers exit a venue dancing???
Yep….it was that good!
Im telling you fam…don’t sleep on this…go as a group, go as a couple, or go alone…but go see this play and prepare to be thoroughly entertained and blissfully connected.
check the nytimes write up….here….
check the mtvnews write up…here…
check for tickets to the play…here…
by : miss peaches from bklyn