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September 24, 2012 by joesonotheque


Maria’s Package Goods & Community Bar & Knitting Factory
Records/Partisan Records presents
Hosted by DJ King Scratch (aka Joe Bryl)
Friday, October 19 – 8PM-2AM – Free, No Cover
960 W. 31st Street, Chicago, Il. 60608 – 773.890.0588 –

The monthly African-themed residency, AFRIKA FREAK OUT! on Friday,
October 19 at Maria’s Packaged Goods (960 W. 31st) is proud to
announce the addition of its yearly tribute, A FELABRATION PARTY run
in conjunction with New York City’s Knitting Factory Records and
Partisan Records. We will also have various giveaways made available
through Knitting Factory and Partisan Records including Fela Kuti CDs
and posters throughout the night.

To celebrate the legacy and influence of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, pioneer
of Afrobeat and political maverick,Maria’s is hosting a FELABRATION on
Friday, October 19 to commemorate the birth of Fela Anikulapo Kuti on
October 15, 1938. An incendiary talent, both musically and
politically, Fela’s influence has grown astronomically since his death
in 1997.

Born in Nigeria, Fela went to London in 1958 to study medicine, but
instead shifted his attention toward music; forming the band Koola
Lobitos which played a fusion of jazz and highlife. Returning to
Nigeria and playing under the direction of Victor Olaiya and his All
Stars,Fela went to Ghana where he developed his ideas on Afrobeat
further. He then continued his travels to the U.S. where his political
awakening was broadened by the Black Power Movement. Renaming his band
Nigeria ’70, he recorded in L.A. in 1969 and returned to Nigeria to
combine his developing Afrobeat style with political and social ideals
based on Pan-Africanism, human rights and socialism. Fela set up a
nightclub in the Empire Hotel, named the Afro-Spot and then the Afrika
Shrine where he performed and honed his style.

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the father of Afro-beat, political radical,
outlaw and showman par excellence and like his American counterpart
James Brown, was a musical visionary who’s output, life and legacy was
of mammoth proportion. Carlos Moore, author of ‘Fela: This Bitch of
Life’ perfectly puts the legacy of Fela by saying . . .

‘Fela refused to bow to the music industry’s preference for
3-minute tracks, nor did he buckle under entreaties to moderate his
overwhelmingly political lyrics. He went down in 1997 still railing
against the consumerist gimmicks that taint pop music, with the aim,
he felt, of promoting and imposing homogeneous aesthetic standards
worldwide, thereby inducing passivity.

The fact that AfroBeat is today globally winning hearts in its
original form – lengthy, ably crafted, earthy compositions laced with
explicitly political lyrics – suggests that Fela’s purgatory on earth
may have served to awaken a sensibility in people to appreciate
authenticity and substance.’

Sadly, Fela passed away over a decade ago due to AIDS which still
devastates much of Africa. His funeral at the Shrine was attended by
over a million visitors. However, since his death, the legacy of Fela
has grown astronomically.

A current component for this re-energized renaissance has been the
renewed focus and re-interpretation of Fela’s Afrobeat style by new
committed practitioners who spread the gospel of Fela’s passion and
politics to a youthful worldwide audience. Artists range far and wide
from London’s Soothsayers, Brighton’s Skeletons, Brooklyn’s The Budos
Band and Ikebe Shakedown, Iceland’s Samuel Jon Samuelsson Bib Band,
Kansas City’s Hearts of Darkness and here locally the Chicago Afrobeat

As Andre Torres, editor-in-chief of Waxpoetics magazine, states in its
Africa issue No. 39:

‘There’s no denying Fela’s genius – a man driven almost to the
point of insanity who found a way to synthesize jazz, highlife, soul
and funk into a unique sound that spoke not only to Africa, but to the
world. Fela was one of those mythical visionaries like Miles Davis,
James Brown and George Clinton that pulled everyone into their world.’

To pay proper tribute to the legacy of Fela this special event will
cover Fela’s musical career, artists who have worked collaboratively
with him (Roy Ayers, Ginger Baker, Tony Allen) and all those from his
own family who presently carry his musical message and lineage further
(his talented sons Femi and Seun). Another layer to this
re-energization has been added by the Broadway success of the Tony
award-winning musical “Fela!” (with an upcoming film in-the-works)
based upon the creative and politically charged life of Fela Kuti.
This revival has seen the re-release of the complete catalogue of
Fela’s music on Knitting Factory Records plus the New Museum’s (NYC)
art show entitled “Black President: the Art and Legacy of Fela

DJ for this special tribute is global groove merchant King Scratch
(aka Joe Bryl who heads the Jungle Boogie and Secret Disco
residencies). Doors open at 8pm and there is no cover for the event.
So get your dancing shoes on for this night of explosive African dance
rhythms and pulsating pounding beats!

AFRIKA FREAK OUT! mission is to meld and merge the music coming out of
the ghettos of Soweto with the techno electronics of Detroit as well
as featuring the Haitian dynamite of Les Difficiles de Petion-Ville
with the Paris-based Senegalese style of Africando. It is our hope to
show that this musical dialogue that emerged from trade routes even
before the earliest recordings in the 20th century still continues
nowadays with access never imagined before and more immediate effects.

The title AFRIKA FREAK OUT! has been chosen to pay homage to the
groundbreaking spiritual jazz release (that includes the
track “Afrika Freak Out) by Barney Wilen titled “Moshi” (Saravah 1972)
that fused avant-garde jazz sensibilities and American blues with
traditional African rhythms.

There is no cover for AFRIKA FREAK OUT! The party begins pounding at
8PM, followed by DJ Joe Bryl spreading the African gospel until 2AM.


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