If you were fortunate enough to have attended the first ever UK instalment of FELABRATION, which was held at Indigo At The O2 on Friday, August 30, 2019, then you will agree that it was an event that lived up to all the hype, as the organisers Shalewa Kuti and DLA World founder May7ven produced a spectacular and impressive event serving more than was on the menu.
Before entering the main space, attendees were treated to African body art and face painting by creative artist Michael Umoudit giving revellers that all-important Afrocentric look, while DLA’s signature Africanised staging, styling, essential props and elaborate set design impressed on entering the auditorium of the Indigo, which had you immediately transported to an atmosphere where Fela would have been proud to perform.
Two large African themed cages fixed to the stage housed two scantily dressed African female dancers who danced along to the Afrobeats music sets, courtesy of DJ Headmixtress, DJ Kashif & DJ KC before introducing the host of the night to the stage.
Wasting no time, Afrobeats presenter and host Adesope Olajide also known as the energy Gawd emerged to the stage with his half painted face sporting a bright yellow print that complimented his larger than life personality before announcing the first set of performing artists, all of whom incorporated the vibe, musical influences and sounds of Fela to their sets.
The audience danced to the incredible music of Jayemoni, Rudebone, Baba, Ubin Mackson, Baba Komo, Kobi, Damibliz, Willixo, A.Star, Eugy, Shiikane, Sona and Zinny, with DJ Unbeetable killing it on the decks, for that seamless transition between the performance sets, which also included dancers, a comedian, live music, acrobatic and theatrical displays.
With less than 90 minutes to go, the auditorium blacked out to introduce one of the most sought after Afrobeats band in the UK, The Compozers. The band opened to an explosion of lights, pyro and frenzy, which took the show to a whole other level playing a mix of contemporary Afrobeats hits and classic Fela Kuti tracks, before running out of time.
With the crowd, a wide range of ages and backgrounds all hyped, it was no surprise the audience hung on to witness the Afrobeat master and one of the original members of Fela’s band, Dele Sosimi. Dele’s time on stage was priceless and simply sensational as he had the entire audience on their feet, as they sang along to all of Fela’s biggest hits back to back.
A special and unexpected collaboration between Dele Sosimi, his 8-piece Afrobeat orchestra and Falz The Bahdguywas just dynamite and captivating. Falz closed the show in his unique and unforgettable infusion of rap, Afrobeats, Fela-inspired showmanship and a performance masterclass.
With the spirit of Fela firmly in the stratosphere, it was a token when the host introduced Shalewa Kuti, daughter of the legend Fela, to her new audience to end the night.
Shalewa thanked the audience and her team graciously and resumed the famous position of both hands in the air, which everyone imitated as a sign of respect to the legend and his legacy. It was a truly remarkable experience.
Shalewa has made an impression on the scene with this landmark event partnering with DLA World to produce a classy, sophisticated, cultured, enthralling and dynamic event celebrating her fathers music and Legacy in style at Indigo At The O2. However way you went into Felabration UK, you certainly left a bit more Africanised musically, culturally, expediently and with the spirit of Fela!