Fela! [Original Broadway Cast Recording]

Fela! [Original Broadway Cast Recording]


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Judging only by the music on this recording, there's a reason that the Broadway musical Fela! is a hit: it kicks. While it's true that the original cast recording is no substitute for Fela Kuti's own records, this studio production of music and narrative is drenched with passion, groove, and chops. There are a number of reasons for this. First, the songs are Kuti's; second, the studio band -- also from the stage production -- is none other than the Afrobeat orchestra Antibalas, backing the cast. The show begins inside Kuti's club, called "the Shrine," and he begins narrating the tale of how he came to create Afrobeat in a land ruled by military dictatorship. The musical uses Kuti's tunes to address various chapters in his life, from his leaving Nigeria for Los Angeles and then returning to his home country after being inspired by the revolutionary change in American culture in the late '60s, only to be oppressed brutally by the Nigerian government and imprisoned, not once but twice. Well-known Kuti anthems such as "Expensive Shit," "Teacher," "Trouble" "Sleep," "I.T.T.," "Zombie," "Torture," and "Coffin for Head of State" are used as cues in the narrative. Throughout, Kuti is haunted by the ghost of his mother (whose theme song here is "Trouble Sleep"), who ultimately becomes a Muse. There is an education to be had while moving your feet and shaking your ass on this set. It is not only a pointer for those who have seen the show, but an accessible document for those who are curious about Kuti's story and music. (Snag The Best of the Black President for an actual introduction to Kuti's amazing Afrobeat sounds.) If cast recordings are your thing, this one will hit you in the head with its intensity; if you're a cynic about musicals, this may be the one time you can suspend your disbelief without regret.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/08/2010
Label: Knitting Factory
UPC: 0720841110323
catalogNumber: 1103
Rank: 269059

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Oren Bloedow   Guitar,Percussion
Alex Harding   Percussion,Baritone Saxophone
Greg Gonzalez   Percussion,Drums
Stuart Bogie   Percussion,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Jeremy Wilms   Bass,Percussion,Keyboards
Jordan McLean   Trumpet
Dylan Fusillo   Percussion
Aaron Johnson   Trombone,Conductor,Keyboards
Ismael Kouyaté   Chant
Ricardo Quinones   Guitar,Percussion
Yoshihiro Takemasa   Percussion

Technical Credits

E.T. Mensah   Composer
Fela Kuti   Composer,Lyricist
Jim Lewis   Composer,Lyricist,Liner Notes,Concept,Book
Robert Sher   Producer
Rikki Stein   Liner Notes
Jordan McLean   Arranger,Composer,Musical Director
Adam Long   Engineer
Peter Nigrini   Projection
Aaron Johnson   Arranger,Composer,Orchestration,Music Direction
Brandon Wardell   Producer
Monique Carboni   Cover Photo,Production Photography
Marina Draghici   Costume Design,Scenic Design
Jody Daily   Illustrations
Van Dean   Layout
Jon Goldman   Production Stage Manager
Stephen Hendel   Executive Producer,Concept
Arnold J. Mungioli   Casting
Maija Garcia   Associate Choreographer
Robert Kaplowitz   Sound Design
Hilary Austin   Stage Manager
Daniel Kuney   Company Manager
Chris Aniello   Company Manager
Linda Marvel   Stage Manager
Cookie Jordan   Wig Designer
Bill T. Jones   Director,Choreographer,Concept,Book

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