In support of the Knitting Factory Records re-launch of Fela Kuti’s music catalogue, as well as the debut of the FELA! show on Broadway, Giant Step has organized official Felabration events in more than 15 cities across North America throughout the month of October; this outstanding schedule of Felabrations will bring together some of the best DJs, musicians, and promoters around to celebrate the life, music, and birthday of Fela Anikulapo Kuti (October 15, 1938 - August 2, 1997). These events will unite the diverse communities and Tastemakers across the country that are instrumental in keeping Fela's music alive.
The original Felabrations date back to the early 1970s when Fela and his band took over the courtyard of the Empire Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria, and performed several nights a week to thousands of worshipping fans. "The Shrine," as the courtyard came to be known, became a very popular nightspot and the audience was made up of everyone from the youths of Lagos to professors, civil servants, government officials and even soldiers. And of course, the Shrine was a center for much more than music. To quote Michael E. Veal in his book, Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon, "more than a mere entertainment club, Fela considered it an actual shrine to his ideological heroes - a space in which his political inclinations fused with musical incantations to assume spiritual dimensions."
Now, Felabration is an annual festival dedicated to the promotion of Afrobeat and African culture and to the preservation of Fela's legend and artistry. Fela would have been 71 on October 15.
Felabrations 2009 Event Listings
10/12 - HOUSTON
Rocksteady Mondays presents: Felabration! w/ DJ Sun & DJ Chicken George @ The Flat
10/12 - PORTLAND
Felabration! w/ Rev. Shines, DJ Santo & more @ Someday Lounge
10/14 - NEW YORK CITY (BROOKLYN)
Voodoo Funk & Giant Step present: Felabration! w/ DJ Frank Gossner and Ikebe Shakedown @ The Knitting Factory
10/14 - MIAMI
The Electric Pickle, Champion Sound, & Giant Step present: Felabration! w/ DJs Mr. Brown, Sire Esq, & A-Train + special guest Djinji Brown @ The Electric Pickle
10/14 - OAKLAND: Soul.Profess presents: RECESS / Felabration! w/ special guest DJ Cecil & live performance by Delina Brooks @ AIR Lounge
10/15 - NEW YORK CITY (DOWNTOWN)
Jump'n'Funk, Libation, FELA! & S.O.B.'s present: Felabration! w/ DJ's Rich Medina & Ian Friday @ S.O.B.'s
10/15 - LOS ANGELES
Afro Funke' presents: Felabration! w/ DJ Nu-Mark, Amon (on percussion), resident DJs Jeremy Sole & Glenn Red, host Rocky Dawuni + special guests @ Zanzibar
10/15 - SEATTLE
SunTzu & Giant Step present: Blueprint / Felabration! w/ SunTzu Sound DJs, special guest Ohmega Watts, & more @ Grey Gallery & Lounge
10/15 - MEXICO (Playa Del Carmen)
Uhuru Afrika presents: Fela Lives! w/ DJs Adam Gibbons, Sabine, & more @ Mi Casa Es Su Casa Holiday
10/15 - PHILADELPHIA
Flygirrl presents: Candyland / Felabration Tribute w/ DJ Mike Nyce @ The Arts Garage
10/16 - LOS ANGELES
Footlong Development & Frolab present: Jump'n'Funk w/ DJ Rich Medina + opening set by DJ Marvski @ Tantra
10/16 - CHICAGO
Listen:Up presents Felabration! w/ DJ Ron Trent & DJ Spinna @ The Shrine
10/17 - SAN FRANCISCO
Giant Step presents: Jump'n'Funk w/ DJ Rich Medina + Carlos Mena (Ocha/Yoruba/Bembe) @ 330 Ritch
10/17 - WASHINGTON, D.C.
ESL & Giant Step present: Felabration! w/ DJ Day & live performance by The Donvonte McCoy Sextet feat. Mavis Water @ ESL
10/17 - DENVER
Afroblu presents: Felabration! w/ DJ Santos, resident DJs RJ Duran & CES, and special guests @ The Union
10/24 - BOSTON
Uhuru Afrika presents: Fela Lives! w/ DJ's: Adam Gibbons, Max Pela, KC Hallett aka KCiv, percussion by Sidy Maiga, & special performance by WUNMI @ All Asia Bar
10/24 - ATLANTA
Spread Love, Jump'n'Funk, & Hot Ice present Felabration! w/ Roy Ayers, Rich Medina, DJ Kemit, Mausiki Scales & Common Ground Collective, DJ Ausar @ 595 North
10/31 - NEW YORK CITY (HARLEM)
Uhuru Afrika + Soul Funktion present: Fela Lives! w/ DJs: Adam Gibbons, Offbeat, DJ OBah, live percussion by Sidy Maiga, and live performance by Amayo's Fu-Arkestra @ The Shrine
Join the Felebrations group on facebook!
Events are also listed at giantstep.net/events
Stream & download Fela Kuti music from the forthcoming 2xCD + DVD release of The Best Of The Black President on Knitting Factory Records, available October 27.
Previews of the musical FELA! begin at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on Broadway, October 19. More info and tickets