Fela | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

It's hard not to be impressed by Nigeria's formidable pop star and folk hero, Fela Anikulapo Kuti--if you can deal with the sight of his female chorus getting down on hands and knees, shaking their scantily clad butts at the audience. It might seem contradictory that a guy who once boasted a harem of over 30 wives and then divorced them all would also be one of the most outspoken (and persecuted) critics of black-on-black political oppression in his homeland. But Fela--like Richard Wagner, Sun Ra, and James Brown before him--is simply a larger-than-life figure of enormous talent and vision who constantly risks being done in by his own ego. It's reflected in the sheer proportions of his stage show--a noisy, thrilling thunderstorm of drums and dancers and saxophones presided over by the invariably bare-chested "Black President" himself. Fela walks a psychic tightrope, illustrating how big vision and big ego are often two sides of the same coin. Sometimes you can't have one without the other. Wednesday, 9 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage; 929-5959.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Renaldo Migaldi

  • The List: July 22-28, 2010

    The List: July 22-28, 2010

    Critics' Choices and other notable shows: Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet, Juana Molina, Struck by Lightning, David Dondero, Natacha Atlas, and more
    • Jul 22, 2010
  • A Son of Sun

    A Son of Sun

    It's been 50 years since he recorded at Sam Phillips's legendary studio and more than 30 since he quit music to drive a limo, but rockabilly pioneer Hayden Thompson is getting back into the business.
    • Nov 29, 2007
  • Thomas E. Ricks

    • Sep 28, 2006
  • More »

Popular Stories