Fela! [Original Broadway Cast Recording]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/8/2010
  • Label: Knitting Factory
  • UPC: 720841110323
  • Catalog Number: 1103
  • Sales rank: 181,228

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
Jim Lewis Composer, Lyricist, Liner Notes, Concept, Book
Robert Sher Producer
Rikki Stein Liner Notes
Jordan McLean Arranger, Composer, Musical Director
Adam Long Engineer
Darrell McClanahan Mastering
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
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti Composer, Lyricist
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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