Film

Finding Fela! Documentary To Premiere At Sundance

Director Alex Gibney's "Finding Fela!" documentary is set to premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.


Finding Fela!, a documentary on the intertwined roles of music & political expression in the life of afrobeat creator Fela Kuti will be premiering at the upcoming 30th edition of the Sundance Film Festival. Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney [Taxi To The Dark Side (2007), Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room (2005), Gonzo (2008)] took charge of the Fela documentary feature.

Gibney describes Finding Fela! as "looking at [Fela] in the past and the attempt to recreate his magic in the present as a way of finding the essence of what made him tick, and why we care about him so much still so many years afterwards." The documentary was produced by Jigsaw Productions alongside Okayafrica/Okayplayer & Knitting Factory Entertainment among others. Stay tuned to this space for more information on the picture and, in the meantime, check out our additional Sundance 2014 recommendations.

UPDATE:

While we're out at Sundance, we'll be celebrating with the Fela! Band throughout the week. Check below for showtimes and party locations and head over to Sundance for more info!

Finding Fela Sundance Showtimes:

Jan. 17, 2:15pm, The MARC, Park City

Jan. 18, 9:00am, Egyptian Theatre, Park City

Jan. 18, 6:00pm, Sundance Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort

Jan. 21, 9:00pm, Salt Lake City Library Theatre, Salty Lake City

Jan. 25, 7:00pm, Redstone Cinema 2, Park City

The Fela! Band At Sundance:

Jan. 17, Sundance Channel House

Jan. 18, Sundance Music Cafe (hosted by KCRW)

Jan. 19, Sundance House (The Sundance Institute's Film Music Program's Celebration of Music in Film)

Interview

Ayra Starr Is Ready to Take Off

We talk to the rising Nigerian star about growing up between Cotonou & Lagos, meeting Don Jazzy and how she made her explosive debut EP.

When Oyinkansola Sarah Aderibigbe—now better known as Ayra Starrwas in university, she was often complimented for her vocal skills. "I would just be singing and people would be like you have such a great voice,'' she tells OkayAfrica over a Zoom conversation. Because of this, her friends kept telling her to consider recording covers of songs to share on social media. Ayra refused—not to make the videos, but to post them—because she was shy.

Eventually, she allowed her friends to share her covers on their own social media channels. Ayra would try to stay away and not keep track of people's reactions to them, but each time she would fail and end up going to the comments section, she'd be surprised at the overwhelming support. ''The first time I did a cover it was crazy, people just went mad. I was shocked, like 'wow, people really like the music.'''

The support that helped her the most in deciding to pursue music full-time, however, was that of her mother. ''My mum would call me from home and be like 'Oyinkansola, do music''' Ayra remembers. ''She would say, 'music is for you', 'God wants you to do music.' She would even check up on me to ask if I had posted on social media.''

Arya Starr's childhood was soundtracked by the musical greats of the time—Tuface, Wande Coal, Tope Alabi. Being born into a musical family also helped. ''Everybody loved music. It was a musical home, and I listened to a lot of different types of sounds. From there I joined the choir when I was like eight or ten," Ayra says.

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