Felabration in London set to hold December 14 2013
Fela has been gone 16 years now but keeping his legacy alive and introducing his music and message to an ever-growing audience is a mission for his legions of admirers. Were he still alive today, 15 October, would have been Fela Kuti’s 75th birthday. This has been celebrated with Felabrations taking place all over the planet (Lagos, Brussels, Paris, 13 across America, Osaka and heaven knows where else). Now it’s London’s turn to pay homage to The Black President.
Joining in the celebration on the night will be OLUGBENGA, Baloji, Sam Duckworth (Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly), Shingai Shoniwa (Noisettes), Afrikan Boy, Blak Twang, ESKA and Zee Gachette (Z-Star). The musicians, singers and rappers will offer their interpretations of Fela songs, aided and abetted by the musical backdrop provided by The Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra led by none other than the inimitable keyboard player Dele Sosimi who formerly played and toured with Fela’s Egypt 80 band.
Very special guests will include the Goldsmiths Vocal Ensemble (GVE), a 25-piece choir from Goldsmith’s College (University of London), as well as some of the amazing dancers from the award-winning Fela! musical. Also showing off their talents will be some of the student musicians from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, previously known as the Trinity College of Music. This is the college where Fela enrolled in 1958 when his parents sent him to London expecting him to study medicine. Fela spent four years at the music college and also formed Koola Lobitos whilst there. The students invited to perform at Felabration have become Afrobeat aficionados and are ready to ‘felabrate’ their famous alumni.
2013 has been a busy year with Fela’s entire 46 album catalogue having been re-packaged and re-released by Knitting Factory Records. October also saw the release of ‘RED HOT + FELA’, a compilation album containing interpretations of Fela songs by a raft of top drawer artists including Angelique Kidjo, ?uestlove (The Roots), M1 (Dead Prez), Spoek Mathambo, tUnE-yArDs, Nneka, Kronos Quartet, Tony Allen, Baloji, Chance The Rapper, My Morning Jacket and others. All profits from this album go towards HIV/AIDS education and relief worldwide.
The event on 14 December will be a follow-on from the hugely successful and sold-out ‘Saluting The Black President‘ show which took place at the same venue in May and brought together Ginger Baker (famed drummer and Fela collaborator), Tony Allen (previously Fela’s drummer), Keziah Jones and many more. Check out some footage from the event below.