One month after, ‘Felabration UK 2019’ still a talk about
Delivered A Culture Rich And Vital Success At Indigo O2
No doubt to the fact, the first ever UK installment of Felabration, an annual festival of music and arts commemorating the life and times of Nigerian’s foremost musical icon and afrobeat progenitor, the late Fela Anikulakpo Kuti, lived to its hypes, as a month after the event, #FelabrationUK, it is a still a talk-about among the attendees.
Held at Indigo O2, London on Friday, August 30, 2019, the music festival, which was put together by Shalewa Kuti and DLA World founder, May7ven produced a spectacular and impressive event, serving more than what was on the menu.
Before entering the main space, attendees were treated to African body art and face painting by creative artist, Michael Umoudit, giving revellers that all-important Afrocentric look, while DLA’s signature Africanised staging, styling, essential props and elaborate set design impressed on entering the auditorium, had attendees immediately transported to an atmosphere where Fela would have been proud to perform.
Two large African themed cages fixed to the stage housed two scantily dressed African female dancers who danced along to the Afrobeats music sets, courtesy of DJ Headmixtress, DJ Kashif and DJ KC before introducing the host of the night, Adesope Olajide also known as the energy Gawd to the stage.
Wasting no time, the Afrobeats presenter emerged with his half painted face sporting a bright yellow print that complimented his larger than life personality before announcing the first set of performing artists, all of whom incorporated the vibe, musical influences and sounds of Fela to their sets.
The audience danced to the incredible music of Jayemoni, Rudebone, Baba, Ubin Mackson, Baba Komo, Kobi, Damibliz, Willixo, A.Star, Eugy, Shiikane, Sona and Zinny, with DJ Unbeetable killing it on the decks, for that seamless transition between the performance sets, which also included dancers, a comedian, live music, acrobatic and theatrical displays.
With less than 90 minutes to go, the auditorium blacked out to introduce one of the most sought after Afrobeats band in the UK, The Compozers. The band opened to an explosion of lights, pyro and frenzy, which took the show to a whole other level playing a mix of contemporary Afrobeats hits and classic Fela Kuti tracks, before running out of time.
With the crowd, a wide range of ages and backgrounds all hyped, it was no surprise the audience hung on to witness the Afrobeat master and one of the original members of Fela’s band, Dele Sosimi. His time on stage was priceless and simply sensational as he had the entire audience on their feet, as they sang along to all of Fela’s biggest hits back to back.
A special and unexpected collaboration between Dele Sosimi, his 8-piece Afrobeat orchestra and Falz The Bahdguy was just dynamite and captivating. Falz closed the show in his unique and unforgettable infusion of rap, Afrobeats, Fela-inspired showmanship and a performance masterclass.
With the spirit of Fela firmly in the stratosphere, it was a token when the host introduced Shalewa Kuti, daughter of the legend Fela, to end the night. She thanked the audience and her team with the famous position of both hands in the air, which everyone imitated as a sign of respect to the legend and his legacy.
Felabration is one of the longest standing, most attended and ground-breaking music festivals in Nigeria that stages over 150 of the best African Artists over a one-week extravaganza at the New Afrika Shrine, Nigeria.
With music being an integral aspect of African culture, Fela’s music and influence has travelled the global music landscape. The UK explosion and rise is arguably the biggest musical breakthrough in decades that is also responsible for the preservation of the African culture through music, fashion and arts in recent years.
It is fair to say, that all Afrobeats artistes are descendants of or influenced by Fela Kuti in some way and for one day, the UK celebrated the music icon and host some of the biggest names in Afrobeats, Afropop and Afrosoul who incorporated and showcased Fela’s music, his charisma and razzmatazz on the big stage.
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