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IREP2017 Film Review : Free Fela

Free Fela Prod. Theo Lawson 45 Minutes Fela Anikulapo-kuti is a revolutionary ; energetic performer; multi-instrumentalist whose music as the voice of truth still echoes in the minds of many, nearly a decade after his death. The documentary was preceded by musical performances at the 2016 annual Felabration – a Fela tribute party, held at Freedom park with short interviews and art aficionados as a dedication to the man whose voice would never be surprised by powers of the government. The big question is: Can one still be incarcerated after death? The filmmaker- Mr Theo Lawson states affirmatively that the ideals of this exceptional being also called Abami Eda remains a taboo whilst some of his songs are forbade by the excluded from mainstream airwaves. The documentary also takes a peep into the Gbemisola street in the Ikeja residence of the late Afro-beat which presently serves as ‘Kalakuta Museum’- a home for all and sundry. It is sufficiently adorned with his personal effects archived for research and similar purposes. Another side to the documentary pays much attention to the essence of live performances, particularly wiithin Freedom park. One is tempted to say that the title Free Fela is a deliberate attempt to state the symbolic representation of Freedom Park, formerly a prison space for political offenders, as a location to express himself fearlessly as this has been a conscious construction of space in Freedom Park. With the film’s composition of footage and thematic texture, we are reminded of the Fela’s vision to continue to enlighten the future generations, his passion for sharing with the young audience. Could it mean that he was sending them a message, and continuously this message remains relevant to us. It is true that the Nigerian government and corporate bodies have not given honoured his legacy its worthy manner. Free Fela reminds audiences that the archives are an important place to be reminded of the powerful stance that Fela took and that his message remains as a powerful response to the times. Babatunde Odubanwo iREP 2017 Media Team