Propelled by the immense success of the fifteen-month, Tony Award-winning Broadway show, Fela! The Musical
, Third Generation Recordings and The Players from Fela! On Broadway have teamed up to tour a remixed excerpt of the musical called Felabration
. The performance, which features musicians from the show, dancing, a live funk band and a DJ, will be at the New Parish (1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland) on Saturday, October 17. Fela!
was first conceived in 2000 when Stephen Hendel stumbled upon a CD of music by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the internationally acclaimed Nigerian Afrobeat musician and general rabble-rouser. But the musical that it inspired didn’t make it to the stage until nearly a decade later. Fela! chronicles Kuti’s journey using his music to openly challenge the corruption and injustice stemming from successive military regimes in his native country. Kuti also paid the price for his defiance; he was arrested and beaten countless times. When he died in 1997, one million people attended his funeral. His legacy as a musical powerhouse and political juggernaut endures to this day, echoed in homages such as Felabration
. — Erin Baldassari