Finding Fela

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Finding Fela the Doc

Finding Fela the Doc

11 Tony Nominations, 3 Tony Awards, an international tour, and now the film from Academy Award winning Director Alex Gibney.

Oscar-Winner Alex Gibney (“Taxi To The Dark Side”) Grapples With An Enigmatic Persona In His Politically Charged Doc About Nigerian Musician Fela Kuti.

The epic trance-like performance riffs of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Anikulapo Kuti could run on for a half-hour or more, teasing with infectious rhythms that might tantalize and then disappear all too swiftly, while other repetitive grooves dug in for the long haul. Alex Gibney’s aptly titled documentary on the Nigerian musician and postcolonial political activist, Finding Fela, is in some ways a similar experience — always interesting, frequently explosive, but also sprawling and unfocused. The subject is perhaps too rife with complexities and contradictions to be entirely pinned down.
The film serves as a companion piece to the 2009 Broadway musical Fela!, and was originally planned to document performances of the production in Nigeria. Directed and co-conceived by innovative choreographer Bill T. Jones, the show and its creative process are extensively covered here, with dynamic excerpts illustrating that the visceral dance-centric portrait was more immersive than informational. But that approach doesn’t mix seamlessly with Gibney’s more conventional assembly of talking heads and archive material — most of it from the 1970s and ’80s.
Finding Fela Soundtrack available July 29 via Knitting Factory Records
The soundtrack to the film ‘Finding Fela’ which tells the story of Fela Kuti’s life, his music, and his social and political importance. This in-depth look at the man who created Afrobeat (the fusion of Jazz, traditional West African rhythms, Funk, Highlife, and psychedelic rock) includes 17 of Fela’s classic tracks plus a never-before released live version of “Colonial Mentality” recorded at the New Afrika Shine in Fela’s hometown of Lagos and features Femi Kuti on saxophone. With his audacious music and much courage, Fela helped fight corruption and autocracy in freshly democratized Nigeria. 

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