Events

FELA! Comes Back To Broadway For A Limited Return Engagement


Photo by Tristram Kenton

The Tony-winning musical that knocked the world on its ass when it debuted in 2008--and then rehabilitated its ass with the funkiest kind of physical therapy--is returning to Broadway for a limited time only. The World Tour production of  FELA!--combines members of the original Broadway and National Theatre of London casts into some kind of superhuman all-star Afrobeat dream team and, crucially Sahr Ngaujah (pictured above) reprises his unforgettable lead performance as Fela Kuti. So, if for some reason you f*cked up the 1st time out, you have been granted a reprieve and we recommend you DEFinitely do not miss it this time. The return engagement kicks off on July 9th and continues through a very short run ending August 4th. That is less than 1 month--32 performances total--and 32 X the # of seats in the theater divided by the # of people who urgently need to see this joint = Get Tix Now (And to get a break on the price, use this special Okayplayer/Okayafrica code: FEDGM77. You're now down with a discount.)

Please believe we are not just saying this because ?uestlove is an above-the-line producer of the show--FELA! has played to critical acclaim around the globe. If you don't want to take our word for it, take  Time Out's (“More than a musical. It's an ecstatic phenomenon!” ) or WGBH Boston's ("FELA! is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!"). Find full event details after the jump.

Fela!

Al Hirschfeld Theatre

302 West 45th Street (Between 8th and 9th Avenues)

New York NY 10036

 

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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