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Kronos Quartet and the Music of Fela Find Common Ground in NYC

Lincoln Center show featured Afrobeat, hip-hop, rock, classical and more

Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab of Sinkane (l.) with guitarist Oren Bloedow, Lincoln Center, NYC, 7-13
l. to r.: Sahr Ngaujah, M1 of Dead Prez, guitarist Luke O'Malley of Superhuman Happiness, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, 7-13
Bajah (r.), with Ahmed of Sinkane, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, NYC, 7-13
Abena Koomson and Kalmia Traver with Luke O'Malley on guitar, Lincoln Center, NYC 7-13
Kronos Quartet, Lincoln Center, NYC. 7-13
Jared Samuel and Ryan Ferreira of Superhuman Happiness, Lincoln Center, NYC 7-13
l. to r.: Stuart Bogie of Superhuman Happiness, Jas Walton, Billy Austick, Alex Toth of Rubblebucket, Antibalas founder Martin Perna, Kalmia Traver of Rubblebucket, Red Hot + Fela producer Paul Heck, Lincoln Center, 7-13
Baloji, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, NYC, 7-13

For the opening program of its five-night “Kronos at 40” series-celebrating four decades of adventurous music by the renowned string quartet-Lincoln Center Out of Doors presented the world premiere of “Red Hot + Fela Live,” featuring a parade of singers, rappers and musicians celebrating the legacy of the late Afrobeat pioneer Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

The first half of the show featured the sextet Superhuman Happiness (who also served as the backing band for the remainder of the program) performing music from the documentary How to Survive a Plague while the second was devoted to Fela music. Kronos participated in both segments but largely gave their stage over to the other performers, including Beninese superstar Angelique Kidjo (a surprise guest), Fela’s drummer Tony Allen, rapper M1 of Dead Prez, members of Antibalas and Rubblebucket and more-artists from both Africa and the U.S., under the musical direction of Stuart Bogie.

JazzTimes’ Jeff Tamarkin was there with his camera.

Originally Published