AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Can documentary film as a genre do justice to the astounding life of Fela Kuti?

Documentary films truncate an entire life into fleeting bursts of exuberance and somber moments. Any moments that exist in between, however significant they are, are left out completely or brushed over. In making a documentary, on any subject, the director carves a narrative. And at times, the narrative carves itself. The decision then to make a documentary...

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Organic Moonshine Roots Music and Fela Kuti: An Interview with Valerie June

Valerie June is the stuff of magical, star lit Tennessee nights. She is a dreaded, animated woman with a lilting Deep South accent doing music that flows out alternately between blues, soul, and country. It’s fitting then...

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Fela Kuti meets De La Soul

What happens? An 8-track remix compiled from “… dozens of  hand-picked samples from the Nigerian instrumentalist and political figure Fela Kuti, and 8 carefully-chosen acapellas from the Native Tongue rap trio De La Soul” called Fela Soul. The...

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Fela In The Low Countries

The “Fela! The Musical” craze hasn’t reached the Low Countries (yet), but that doesn’t stop Dutch ZAM Magazine from including in its latest issue some old, but previously unpublished pictures, of Fela in Paris shot by Anton...

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

When Fela Kuti came to New York City

The Fela revival–lawsuits and all–in New York City rolls on. This time it’s a new documentary about a mid-1980s visit Kuti–then in his prime–made to New York City.  “Fela–NYC: Fresh from Africa”  is a 97-minute film directed...

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Fela Can’t Dance

I am not sure what to make of this. Bill T Jones (creator of the musical “Fela!,” currently playing on Broadway) recently choreographed “Zombie” (a song about military repression) for Canada’s version of “So You Think You...

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Music Break: Fela Kuti’s “Water No Get Enemy”

By the cast of the Broadway musical Fela!. Not bad. Via Knitting Factory Records. — Sean Jacobs

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Fela Rolls On

Hot off the heels of Fela! The Musical’s phenomenal 11 Tony Award nominations comes the news (via Deadline New York) that Chiwetel Ejiofor is “formally attached” to play the lead in the Fela biopic slated for release...

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Fela! wins on Broadway

Bill T Jones’ “Fela!,” the musical interpretation of the life of the Afrobeat king, is up for 11 Tony Awards–the most of any show this year–including Best Musical.  I haven’t seen any of the other shows up...

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Abraham Lincoln and Fela Kuti

Some critics went after Bill T Jones for his musical portrayal of the king of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti, on Broadway. Here, in the link below, Mr Jones responds–indirectly–to criticisms of “Fela!,” during a discussion with Bill Moyers...

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Seun Kuti goes to see ‘Fela!’ on Broadway

He liked it and thinks its “genius.” Video by Afropop.

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Representing Fela

Last week The New York Times published an odd piece of writing by one its theater “critics”, Charles Isherwood about the Broadway show “Fela!” about the life of the Afrobeat king.  Isherwood ccused the show of “tilting”...

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Fela Inspiration

This artist was inspired to create after seeing the Broadway musical.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

‘The Inspiration of Fela Kuti’

This compilation focuses on the music Fela inspired – whether by fellow Nigerians recording alongside him in the early 70s, neighbors in Ghana, then-modern Colombian cumbia ensembles inspired by the man who injected a new feel into...

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

THE MAN BEHIND FELA KUTI’S ALBUM ART

A profile of Lemi Ghariokwu

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

EVERYBODY WANTS FELA TO SUCCEED (ON BROADWAY)

The New York mainstream press is all over Bill T Jones’ musical “Fela!,” which recently opened in the city.  Everybidy wants the show to succeed in a downmarket. “The New York Times” has done a few pieces–...

Friday, November 6th, 2009

NEW RELEASE / ‘FELA: THE BEST OF THE BLACK PRESIDENT’

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

FELA KUTI IS COMING TO BROADWAY

“Fela!,” the Bill T. Jones musical about the life of the Nigerian Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is opening on Broadway on October 19. I had tickets during the show’s short Off-Broadway run last year, but on...

Friday, June 20th, 2014

We ́re not Monkeys or Panthers: The Rap of Z’Africa Brasil

Race in Brazil has never been simple. In the midst of the protests leading up to the current World Cup, all eyes turned to Brazilian soccer players as yet another object lesson in blackness, racism and Africanity...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Afrobeat, Brazilian Style

The following is a guest post from Wolfram Lange, a Brazilian music aficionado based in Rio de Janeiro. A few months ago Sean and I were discussing the upsurge in interest in (Fela Kuti’s) afrobeat music in...

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Nollywood in Paris

The Nigerian Diaspora has always been the main vehicle of Nollywood’s expansion, namely in cities like London, New York and Toronto among other places. The city of Paris on the other hand, was not included in this and...

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

What it is to be Winnie Mandela

I just finished reading a fascinating appetizer to John Carlin’s new book on Nelson Mandela, Knowing Mandela, and it set me wondering what might be the place of solitude in the narration of South African history. Some of...

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

The Rediscovery of William Onyeabor

I had an American friend Facebook me with a link to Onyeabor and a comment to the effect that they really liked him and wanted to know more. I sent back a link of WizKid and Olamide,...

Friday, January 17th, 2014

#Breaking: New York Times discovers African artists use the Internets

The New York Times’ printing press is still radiating from January 8th, 2014 when the newspaper’s East Africa correspondent Nicholas Kulish published a story (with accompanying video) about how the presence of Africans on the Internet represents...

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Wangechi Mutu in conversation with Trevor Schoonmaker

Schoonmaker: When did you start to see work by African artists that you did respond to? Was that in New York? Mutu: In New York, ironically, you know, in the early ’90s. Richard Onyango, one of Kenya’s...

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Weekend Music Break 61

Your weekly collection of new tunes and videos -- this week from Zambia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mali, South Africa and the Netherlands, but first: Congo. This year's Salaam Kivu International Film Festival (SKIFF), which took place in Goma...

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Reimagining Ghana’s Cinemaspace

A thread that runs through all creative mediums from fashion to architecture to cinema is that cultural icons of the bygone days can be fertile inspiration for the contemporary creative imagination. It was in this spirit that...

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Kenneth Gyang’s “Confusion Na Wa” and the growing desire for variety and novelty in Nigerian cinema

In the discussion that followed the first public screening of Kenneth Gyang’s ‘Confusion Na Wa’ (2013) at the Lights, Camera, Africa Film Festival in Lagos, audience members drew comparisons to Crash, Pulp Fiction, and Quartier Motzart as...

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Weekend Music Break 57

It’s the weekend, so let’s dig into the internet’s digital crates for some new music. In a video that strings together GIF-like movements and intriguing textural contrasts over innovative beats, UK rapper/producer Mickey Lightfoot makes his compelling...

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Ghana’s Independence Era Through the Lens of S.K. Pobee

The photos below (click to enlarge), offering a glimpse into the joy and optimism of the immediate post-Independence period in Accra, are from Samuel Kobian Pobee’s Modern Photo laboratory. They were acquired by Samy Ben Redjeb of...

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