After 12 years of his death, the great Afro-beat musician Olufela Anikulapo Kuti's music has continue to gain more recognition and has even won many post humors awards, so it was not surprise when recently American top singer Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith officially signed on as co-producers of "Fela!," a musical about the late Afro-beat pioneer that opens Monday on Broadway.
The news confirms weeks of speculation that the three would back the show.
Report has it that the support
Even-though the celebrity producers are joining so late in the game,their mere presence at the opening show on November 23rd is sure to attract some serious star power on ol' Broadway. Choreographed and directed by the Tony Award-winning Bill T. Jones, Fela!, as The L Magazine so aptly noticed, is the first giant Broadway production I can recall being presented by mostly African-American producers.
"There's going to be an enormous incentive for people to investigate Fela when they know that Jay-Z and Will Smith are all rabid fans," Rikki Stein, Kuti's former co-manager and executor of his estate, recently told reporter. "It's a sign that the underground is moving overground."
"Fela!" will help find a larger audience for the music of Kuti, who pioneered Afrobeat from the sounds of James Brown and West African high-life music, became a political icon in Nigeria and earned the admiration of everyone from Paul McCartney to the Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil before his death in August 1997.
Among his popular albums are; Water no get enemy,Zombie and many others, his band is presently under the leadership of his song, Seun Kuti, he also has his first son, Femi Kuti in the same line.