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A double bill and jam of boundary crossing international soul with Bajah’s conscious blend of dancehall and hip-hop from Sierra Leone and Fela AKUsTIc’s exploration of the soulful essence of Afrobeat. With special guests.
SAHR + RICARDO’s FELA aKUsTIc is a radical reinterpretation of the music of Afrobeat creator Fela Kuti. Fela’s 15 to 30-piece orchestra has been stripped down to a two-piece core and the songs considerably reinvented. Along with guests musicians, the project brings together vocalist Sahr Ngaujah, who was nominated for a Tony and an Olivier Award in the lead role of the theatrical production Fela! with Ricardo Quinones, who played guitar in the band for the show on Broadway and on its international tour. Both artists have extensive international careers. Sahr has worked with Bill T. Jones, Gerrit Timmers in Rotterdam, Falk Ritcher in Berlin, and Walter Chakela in Johannesburg. Ricardo has collaborated with many artists, including Alicia Keys, Sade, India.Arie, Anthony David, and Luther Vandross. In August 2014, SAHR + RICARDO, who are in the process of recording material for the FELA aKUsTIc album, were the opening act for four dates on the northeast leg of Ms. Lauryn Hill’s tour. Artist Dwayne Rodgers, who most recently collaborated with fellow artist Kehinde Wiley on a video installation that has been touring museums with Wiley’s World Stage Israel project, is the executive producer and creative director of FELA aKUsTIc.
After packing the national stadium for performances in their home country of Sierra Leone and contributing music to the Academy Award–nominated film Blood Diamond, African superstars Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are poised to conquer the global airwaves with their international debut album and their unique sound, which blends the swagger and funk of hip-hop, the passion and energy of dancehall, and the socially conscious vibe of reggae. The group has generated so much buzz in the hip-hop world that major stars, including ?uestlove and Black Thought of The Roots, Talib Kweli, K’Naan, Res, and El-P have contributed their vocal and/or production talents to the upcoming release, helmed by the production team Fyre Department (whose credits include 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, GZA, Talib Kweli, and Justin Timberlake). With this great collection of creatives, Bajah’s own star is rising as the Sean Paul of West Africa with the social conscience of Bob Marley and Fela Kuti. In Sierra Leone, now emerging from the throes of a brutal 10-year civil war, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are hailed as “the voice of the voiceless,” speaking truths on behalf of those people who have no political power, spreading messages of peace and reconciliation, outing corrupt politicians, and inspiring the disenfranchised youth to pursue their dreams.
Presented in collaboration with Meridian 23
Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.