Last night at the British Library was no exception as Felabration in London moved both audience and performers alike. Baba’s spirit was well and truly present as young, old, man, woman, and people of every creed and colour rocked and swayed to classic hits performed by mainstream African stars.
Not to be outdone by the Nigerian celebrations, performers came out in force and proudly performed to a sold-out venue that saw revellers gyrating in every conceivable bit of space available.
Dele Sosimi started us off at fever pace with hits such as ‘Zombie’, and it just got hotter and hotter as he was joined on stage by accomplished singers such as Shingai from The Noisettes who cut a beautiful and striking image as she performed ‘Lady’.
The music washed over us as various artistes including Afrikan Boy and Terri Walker took to the stage to give us some of Fela’s finest hits.
The legend himself, the indefatigable Tony Allen came to the stage a few songs in and performed a rousing set for over an hour!
He is as special off-set as he is live; charming, humble, and taking the time to talk to press and fans alike. He certainly made one photographer very happy – gracing Michael Tubes with one of his drumsticks. Michael couldn’t contain his glee and lay flat on the ground in thanks – as is the Yoruba way; a fitting gesture to this great man.
TuBaba, Tuface Idibia of laive, the #FortyFied man himself was present as one of the headline acts, and he did not disappoint! Coming in with ‘Water – E No Get Enemy’, he performed with Laura Mvula, Terri Walker and other musicians. You can tell someone who has Fela in their bones, and Tuface definitely has Fela in his bones.
The performers were not the only attraction however, as there were a few famous faces in the crowd. Wale Ojo could been seen enjoying the music, and Timade Kuti, an ardent fan of The Beat and a musician/composer himself was present. Sigh, there is something musical, something unique in the DNA of that family: the young man was perfectly civil and composed during pre-show interviews and talks, but he seemed transported to another realm as soon as the rhythm hit. He seemed to anticipate every beat, and his entire body communed with that stage. To see such all-encompassing passion take over is a pleasure indeed.
The crescendo that had been building all night finally burst into a beautiful performance of ‘Shakara’ by all the musicians, and the room itself shook in joy.
Felabration, London 2015 was a thing of bliss; an event to remember.
All pictures courtesy: Michael Tubes Creations
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