Tuesday 16 October 2012

Felabration: Partying Fela Style

For the second year in a row, Jungle By Night, the young Dutch afro-beat collective, organised a Dutch edition of Felabration to honour and celebrate the life of Fela Kuti. A few days later Fela would have turned 74. Several bands would be playing this night, including Jimi Tenor with very special guest Tony Allen.

Felabration: Fela Kuti Tribute at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 12 2012

I don't need much persuasion when a legend like drummer Tony Allen is announced. Together with Fela Kuti he invented afro-beat. So we make sure to arrive at Paradiso on time to watch Jimi Tenor kick it off on the main stage with Kabu Kabu.

Jimi Tenor with Kabu Kabu, special guest Tony Allen

Jimi Tenor, real name Lassi Lehto, is a Finnish jazz musician. Tonight he's playing with Kabu Kabu, an afro-beat band from Berlin, who already worked with some famous afro-beat pioneers like Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen. Tenor is giving a lot of freedom to the band to play the jazzy tunes. He's playing flute and sax himself and is singing some occasional vocals. Most members are getting their chance in the spotlight. A lot seems improvised, which gives it a very loose but also a bit of a messy feel. After a while they announce Tony Allen, who will be playing the rest of the show with them. Unfortunately this is rather short and after about 15 minutes they have to end. It's still great to see the master himself on stage. His very relaxed style is all coolness. Don't expect any technical tricks or rolling fills. But he's so tight in the groove and loose in his playing. It's a delight to watch this legend and dance to the music he invented.

More Jimi Tenor:Official Website | MySpace | Spotify | YouTube
More Kabu Kabu: Official Website | MySpace | Spotify

Jungle By Night
Of course the young members of the band themselves are also playing tonight. It's clear they are spending a lot of time playing together and on the road. Every time they sound more tight and look more relaxed and confident on stage than the time before. Where Jimi Tenor was lacking some speed and may have been a bit too jazzy for this crowd, Jungle By Night know how to light the fuse and get this party going. Fortunately besides Jimi Tenor and Kabu Kabu, they get Tony Allen to play with them as well, so I get to see a bit more of one of my favourite drummers. The old master is all smiles and looks like he's loving every minute of it. It has to be a great feeling, that such young people are playing and dancing to the music you invented fourty years ago. It looks like the legacy of him and Fela Kuti is safe. Kuti himself would have approved as well I'm sure.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube

Bixiga70 It's a diverse bill tonight. We missed two more bands, one from Germany, Woima Collective and another Dutch band, Atanga Boom. Now there's a band from Brasil playing on the small stage upstairs. It's their first show outside their country and I hope it won't be their last one. Their music, afro-beat with some latin influences, is very catchy and danceable. It's impossible to stand still. The band is very excited and is working hard to please the crowd. When a few members of Jungle By Night join in on the fun, it turns into a wild jam. It's the appropriate ending of the live part of this Felabration, before the after-party downstairs takes off.

Official Website | MySpace | Twitter | Facebook | SoundCloud

This event is a great idea. For the second year in a row it proves to be very successful. It's good to see that a musical genre that almost seemed destined to be forgotten, is catching on with a young generation. This way we will never forget about great people like Fela and Tony Allen. Hopefully we can "felebrate" for many years to come.

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