Fela! Dance Music With A Political Message

Back in the day, I was a New York City child of the sixties. I attended a private progressive elementary school and my friends and I were fairly savvy and politically active — protesting war toys, stumping and stuffing for Bella Abzug, marching on Washington… My friends and I were also music , dance, and theater lovers, singing folk songs, dancing weekly at Michael Herman’s Folk Dance House, attending Broadways musicals and then performing them in our living rooms. Torches have been passed to next generations, and my best friend’s son has learned his musical, social and political lessons well. Barnaby is no longer a kid. Now he’s a young man with two jobs — a 9-5er by day and musician by night. His band (and Barnaby himself) is featured in this video promo for the Broadway show “Fela!”

I did not know that Fela! and I shared a birthday and that on that day last month (October 15), “Felabrations” were held all over world. A happy belated discovery.

In the words of director/choreographer Bill T. Jones “a confrontation of power is always relevant,” and Fela! is is “a wake up call” that hear you can “hear with your hips.” Click here to watch Jones and biographer Dr. Carlos Moore discuss Fela Anikulapo-Kuti on YouTube.

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