2010-06-15Broadway recordings often don’t work for me as they tend to include dialogue that doesn’t mean much if you haven’t seen the show nor is it a normal musical cd. Fela! mixes 16 of Fela Kuti’s songs including the brilliant I.T.T. and Zombie with musically trying to describe the life of Fela, the late Nigerian political activist and inventor of Afro-beat. There are also songs sung by Lilas White, Fela’s mother and Saycon Sengbloh a girlfriend in the play. Actor Sahr Ngaujah infuses Fela! with his phenomenal voice, bringing all the material to life. The band “Antibalas” is genius slipping between jazz, funk and Afro-beat – sometimes all in one song. Warnings: The word ass is scattered around appearing at least once in #1, #9, and #16. Shit is in the dialogue for #5. #8 is a NO PLAY motherf##ker. Songs #12 “Torture” and #20” Coffin for Head of State” are about tough subjects so don’t play before 10pm. Does this cd work as a stand alone musical piece? Not for me but there are interesting pieces here. - Anne Lamont
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