By Amy Leon
FELA! takes place during the 1970’s in The Shrine, the concert hall of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, one of the most popular musicians in Africa at the time. He talks to the audience as if we were seated in The Shrine itself. The theatre is full of vibrant decorations, making it feel like we are actually there.
Fela’s original Afrobeat music is heard not only in Africa, but around the world. He doesn’t plan on staying quiet about the problems he sees around him, which sometimes gets him into trouble. With the lyrics original no artificiality and corruption and tradition is the government’s teacher, he describes the corrupt behavior of the Nigerian dictatorships.
The songs are strong and captivating and the dancing shows the beauty of African culture. Though these sounds and movements narrate the story, the play is most powerful within its silences. It is when the music lingers that you can hear the silent screams of pain underlying the colorful production.
FELA! shows the impact that music can make in the world and reminds us that words and a good beat have more power than violence.