Excitement is building as the Tony Award winning "FELA!", based on the life of Nigerian Fela Anikulapo Kuti, opens on February 25 for a 2 night run at the Belk Theater in Charlotte. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets range from $20 to $109. Checking ticket availability online, there appears to be a sell out in the offing.
Fela, who lives on in the hearts of his fans from the 1970s and 80s, has been rediscovered decades after his death by a new generation of international fans.
Afrobeat, a genre Fela created which combined African, Soul and other musical influences with a message to defy power. Fela's lyrics, as in the excerpt below from "Zombie", made him a target of the military government of Nigeria, who attacked his compound, 1,000 strong:
Zombie no go go unless you tell am to go,
Zombie no go stop until you tell am to stop.
Zombie no go turn unless you tell am to turn,
Zombie no go think unless you tell am to think.
The production began as an off-Broadway play which progressed to Broadway acclaim in 2010 with backing by Jay-Z and Will and Jada Smith.
The multi-media production combines music and dance choreographed by Bill T. Jones with print and video clips chronicling Fela's controversial life.
The touring company of "FELA!" will feature Michelle Williams, formerly of "Destiny's Child", as Sandra Isadore, Fela's American girlfriend who opened his eyes to the Black Power Movement and human rights issues which he subsequently addressed in his compositions.
Try to catch the amazing portrayal of Fela, self dubbed "the Black President", in this exciting Black History Month event.