Fela Kuti: The Musical, the Praise and the Reissues...

I just watched a video of Talib Kweli and Mos Def (having difficulty buying into his Yasiin Bey switchover) performing as Blackstar on stage with the cast of FELA!, a theater piece based on the legendary Fela KutiFELA! is touring around the world and garnering a significant amount of praise.  In the meantime, the Fela catalogue has been reissued by Knitting Factory Records.
All info, links and videos come courtesy of Life of Death PR & Management.

KANYE WEST, PRINCE, MOS DEF, TALIB KWELI, STEVIE WONDER, AND NAS ALL COME OUT TO CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF FELA KUTI AT FELA! THE MUSICAL FELA! THE MUSICAL CONTINUES TO TOUR. GET TICKETS HERE

KNITTING FACTORY RECORDS REISSUES FELA CATALOGUE. GET ALBUMS HERE.



In the past few weeks, musical legends Nas, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Quincy Jones, LL Cool J, Ziggy Marley, and Smokey Robinson have led standing ovations at FELA!, which is now thrilling audiences at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre through January 22nd. FELA! - a celebration of the life of music pioneer Fela Kuti - won three Tony Awards last year for its Broadway adaptation and has been touring the World, with its most recent runs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

With the blessings of the Kuti family, the show opened in 2009 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. With Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett-Smith coming on board as Producers and Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson of The Roots as Associate Producer, over the next 15 months,
FELA! played host to half a million people. Celebrities kept coming; Madonna, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Ben Stiller, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Harry Belafonte, Spike Lee, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé Knowles, Kofi Annan and First Lady Michelle Obama, to name a handful. The show received 11 Tony nominations and three Tony Awards for Best Choreography, Best Costumes and Best Sound. In 2010, prior to leaving Broadway, FELA! saw a sold-out season of performances at London's prestigious Royal National Theatre and was nominated for scores of Olivier Awards. The original Broadway cast spent two weeks in Lagos, Nigeria in April with the opening performance at the Kuti family's New Africa Shrine, and was the centerpiece of this year's Holland Festival in Amsterdam.
Talib Kweli and Mos Def recently shared the stage with members of the cast of FELA! in San Francisco. Check out this video of the event.

Rapper Nas called the musical "very important work," and Kanye West found the production to be "inspiring" (he also invited the entire cast to a Watch The Throne show). The legendary Stevie Wonder was spotted during opening night of FELA! in Los Angeles, where he harmonized with FELA! dancer Jacqui Dubois on an acapella ditty (video here). The tour, now in Los Angeles until January 22, is headed next to Washington, DC for six shows at the Warner Theatre from January 26 - 29, then to Detroit. Get tickets here.

As swarms of celebrities take to the theatre to profess their love of and influence by the Afrobeat pioneer and First Black President, Fela Kuti, Knitting Factory Records continues to release rare recordings and special editions of Kuti's work, in addition to new albums by his sons Seun Kuti and Femi Kuti. Over the past 2 years, Knitting Factory Records has reissued the entire Fela Kuti catalogue digitally and on CD, and has released one vinyl boxset, curated by ?uestlove of The Roots. This year, a second vinyl boxset will be released in addition to a number of rare and live recordings. Knitting Factory Records is also in the process of reissuing recordings by Kuti's cousins, The Lijadu Sisters, which have been unavailable for almost three decades. Fans can purchase these releases and more at Fela.net or the Knitting Factory Records website.


VIDEO: Talib Kweli and Mos Def on stage at FELA!
http://www.felaonbroadway.com/2011/12/talib-kweli-yasiin-bey-mos-def-present-the-cast-of-fela-in-san-francisco/


VIDEO: Stevie Wonder harmonizes with
FELA! dancer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yx16-MLWiPE


TICKETS: See
FELA! in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. or Detroit
http://www.felaonbroadway.com/tickets/


FELA KUTI REISSUES: Get albums from Fela Kuti and family
http://www.knittingfactoryrecords.com/ or http://fela.net

Sincerely,
Letters From A Tapehead
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