A compilation of interviews, some of them with Fela himself, filmed concert performances and other archival footage, the film is also a making--of movie about the
"Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense," a 59-minute 1984 documentary about Fela produced by BBC TV, has a sharper focus and the great Nigerian novelist
In Gibney's film, we learn that Fela was the well--educated child of political activists and was close to his mother, who fought for justice and women's rights in post-colonial
Inspired by African-American music, especially the soul-rock fusions of James Brown and the jazz of
In Fela's hands it was more than music to dance to (a single song often ran for 30 minutes or more). It was music composed by a self-described revolutionary and designed to bring down the government.
Fela was also a libertine and pothead, whose caveman--like views on women and polygamy (in one scene he marries 27 women, all of them band members) must have outraged his beloved mother. She died a year after she was beaten by the police during a raid of her son's
Because we hear so many descriptions of Fela, some of them contradictory, an unclear image of the artist emerges.
His statements concerning spiritualism and his association with a magician-guru from
("Finding Fela" contains drug use and profanity.)
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