Monday, 13 September 2010


Funmilayo Anikulapo Kuti, the mother of Africa's legendary Afrobeat musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, will be resurrected once more on stage by Legendary American R&B singer, Patti Labelle. Labelle made up her mind about playing Funmilayo Kuti on FELA, a Broadway musical produced by rappers Will Smith and Jay-Z after attending the show. According to Labelle- 'I am both thrilled and honoured to be joining the cast of FELA on Broadway. Fela's mother, Funmilayo, was a strong, truly inspiring woman and I am so privileged to be able to pay tribute to her on the Broadway stage.'

Labelle, who is renowned for her passionate stage performances, wide vocal range and distinctive high octave belting will make her debut in the play tomorrow [ September 14, 2010 ] and she will stay with the production until it ends on January 2, 2011. Playing Funmilayo Kuti will not be difficult for Patti Labelle because she is an actress with a lot of experience. She featured in the NBC sitcom 'A Different World' as Adele Wayne {Mother of Dwayne} and also acted in her own sitcom 'Out All Night' as a former R&B star known as Chelsea Paige. So she is in familiar territory. FELA is directed and Choreographed by Bill T. Jones. The show stars Sahr Nguajah and Kevin Mambo who both play Fela Kuti alternatively, and also features Antibalas and other members of the New York City Afrobeat community under the directorial skills of Aaron Johnson.

FELA which opened on Broadway in November 2009 tells the story of Fela Kuti as the target of 1000 soldiers who are hell bent on stopping his performances at his famous night club, Kalakuta Republic. Patti Labelle is also an accomplished singer-songwriter who was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003 due to her song 'Lady Marmalade'. She has reportedly sold 50 Million copies of her albums worldwide and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. If you're in the USA, you need to see this Tony Award-winning show about Fela Kuti. Fela is a freedom fighter who continues to inspire many Nigerians to demand for better governance in the oil rich nation.

Sources:,, RV.
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