Fela! at the Academy of Music


Fela! is in town for just three more days, with the Broadway musical starring either the equally good Sahr Ngaujah or Adesola Osakalumi making an exuberant noise at the Academy of Music for one show on Friday night and two each on Saturday and Sunday.

My feature story about the production that run in last Sunday's Inquirer Arts & Entertainment section is here. An 11 minute version of "Gentleman," which gets across the Fela jazz-funk-trance vibe quite nicely is below, as is "I.T.T.," the Nigerian Afrobeat creator's attack on multi-national colonialism.

At the Thursday night appearance I attended with Osakalumi in the lead role, the pointed political viewpoint of the iconic personality whose adopted middle name "Anikulapo," means "I have death in my pocket, and I can give it to you at any time," came across loud and clear, with the help of Brooklyn Afrobeat specialists Antibalas, who are the house band.

White colonialists who come to Africa, Fela explains, are like house guests who are charming at first. "Then you start to notice thant things are gong missing: People ... diamonds ... petroleum. And then they leave you with only to things: Jesus, and gonorrhea."

That's the real Fela in the picture. Toby Zinman's review from Thursday's Inquirer is here. The essay ?uestlove wrote on the show after The Roots drummer saw it in 2008 is here. Ticket info here.

Previously: Norah Jones coming to the Mann Follow In The Mix on Twitter here