Film

'Finding Fela' To Begin Its North American Theatrical Run In August

'Finding Fela' will begin its North American theatrical run in August.


© Francis Kertekian/Rikki Stein

If you missed Finding Fela at its Sundance world premiere back in January, not to worry. North America will have ample opportunity to catch the Alex Gibney (Taxi To The Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room) directed documentary. Today it was announced that art house distributor Kino Lorber has acquired all North American rights to Finding Fela, which Okayafrica/Okayplayer co-produced alongside Jigsaw Productions and Knitting Factory Entertainment. Plans are now officially set for a national theatrical run beginning in August. The film is scheduled to hit NYC first with an exclusive engagement at the IFC Center on August 1st, followed by openings in DC (8/8), L.A. (8/15), San Francisco (8/15), Philly (8/15), Boston (8/15), and Atlanta (8/15). Along with these cities, Kino Lorber plans to book Finding Fela in 75 additional markets. But even prior to the theatrical run, Bonnaroo is holding a special screening (Friday, June 13th, 4:45pm) at its cinema tent along with a Q&A with Seun Kuti after the film.

Finding Fela U.S. Theatrical Dates

New York, NY – August 1st at IFC Center

Washington, DC – August 8th at Landmark's E Street Cinema

Los Angeles, CA – August 15th at Landmark's Nuart Theatre

San Francisco, CA – August 15th at Landmark's Opera Plaza

Philadelphia, PA – August 15th at Landmark's Ritz at the Bourse

Boston, MA – August 15th at Landmark's Kendall Square

Atlanta, GA – August 15th at Landmark's Midtown

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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