28 June 2010

Monday's mp3: Fela! OST

CD REVIEW
Fela! Original Broadway Cast Recording
(Knitting Factory)
I've written previously about the Broadway musical Fela! Now if, like me, you've been unable to get to NYC to see the show, you can at least hear the music. The original cast soundtrack is out, and it sounds fantastic. Just a look at the long list of songs will get any Fela fan excited.


I've heard uniformly positive reviews of the live show ("A terrific dance party of a musical, an exuberant celebration that also drives home a spirited message of human resilience," says the Associated Press). But of course the music comes from a sit-down theater in NYC, and no matter how accurate the arrangements or energetic the performances, it won't be mistaken for a maniacal live set by Fela Kuti at the Shrine. For one thing, the lyrics are more intelligible; I suppose much of Fela's original pigeon would baffle US audiences.

I've heard some criticism that the show's great music isn't equaled by good storytelling; if you don't already know Fela's story of resistance, rebellion, and innovation, you apparently won't learn a lot about it from the stage. Still, I expect the show and the soundtrack will introduce many people to the musical legacy of the father of Afrobeat, and further push that great sound into the mainstream.

[mp3] Original Cast: I.T.T. (International Thief Thief)
from the album Fela! Original Broadway Cast Recording

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