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The Playlist

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti Documentary 'Finding Fela!'

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • August 22, 2014 1:42 PM
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Finding Fela
The legendary musician, producer, innovator and thinker Brian Eno once famously called the Nigerian Afrobeat meter one of the three greatest drumbeats of the 1970s (along with Germany’s propulsive Motorik pulse and James Brown's Stubblefield-driven funky drummer groove). And Eno's early declarations have hardly proved wrong over the decades, often turning into reliable maxims. While genius drummer Tony Allen would physically provide the rhythm, the Afrobeat sound was conceived and pioneered by Fela Anikulapo Ransome Kuti, the multi-instrumentalist godfather of this remarkable polyrhythmic African jazzfunk genre. Kuti was to Afrobeat what Bob Marley was to reggae, what Brown was to funk; a musical giant in the scene with few rightful claimers to the throne. But unlike his contemporaries who are all recognized legends worldwide, Kuti still remains largely a musical cult figure to this day.

Steve McQueen Out, 'Mother Of George' Helmer Andrew Dosunmu In To Direct 'Fela Kuti' Biopic

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 16, 2013 4:58 PM
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Andrew Dosunmu Fela Kuti
When we caught up with "12 Years A Slave" director Steve McQueen in Toronto, he told us he wanted to do something a bit different for his next movie. "I'll do a musical next. I want to do a musical, that's what I want to do," McQueen said, so naturally our thoughts turned to "Fela Kuti," the long developing biopic of the afrobeat legend. McQueen had been attached to this one for a while, even before he shot "Shame," with talk of his 'Slave' star Chiwetel Ejiofor taking the lead role. But it looks like things are changing.

Steve McQueen Discusses His Short-Hand With Michael Fassbender, The Influence Of Pasolini On 'Shame' And His Fela Kuti Biopic

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 1, 2011 12:03 PM
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Not every filmmaker has a background as a controversial, award-winning artist. But film has always been intrinsic to Turner Prize-winner Steve McQueen's work  -- 1997's "Deadpan," for instance, recreated Buster Keaton's legendary collapsing building stunt in "Steamboat Bill Jr." -- so his movement into feature filmmaking always felt like a natural shift, and it was no surprise that when it came with 2008's "Hunger," it would be one of the most indelible films of that year.

Focus Features' James Schamus Talks Steve McQueen's Fela Kuti Biopic

  • By Simon Dang
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  • December 2, 2010 2:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Acclaimed Nigerian Author Chris Abani Now Writing The ScriptWith English helmer Steve McQueen set to begin lensing early next year on the sex addiction drama "Shame" featuring the promising trio of Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale, we simply assumed that the project would be trumping the director's planned biopic on afrobeat pioneer and human rights activist Fela Kuti, based on Michael Veal's book "Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon."

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