FELA BOWL: Fela Birthday Bash FELABRATION! feat. Zozo Afrobeat
"Zozo," taken from the Goun and Fon word for "something hot," truly keeps the afrobeat fires burning. A 13-piece ensemble from New York City, Zozo Afrobeat features musicians from around the world and is led by African music luminary Kaleta. Born in the Republic of Benin and raised in Nigeria, Kaleta grew up recording and performing with legendary Nigerian musicains Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade. After moving to the US, he toured with Femi Kuti and most recently with Lauryn Hill.
With Zozo Afrobeat, Kaleta's music pays homage to the greats, and yet has its own distinctive sound and energy. Like Fela Kuti, who used his music to challenge a corrupt Nigerian government, Kaleta has written songs that are socially and politically provocative. At the same time, his lyrics reflect a keen sense of humor and a message of hope. On Zozo Afrobeat's 2007 release Country of Guns, Kaleta scatters pop culture references and marvels over a country with "250 million people and 250 billion guns." On other songs, Kaleta sings in Yoruba, Goan, Fon, and French.
On stage, Kaleta displays remarkable energy – singing, dancing, and playing guitar and percussion. The band responds acordingly, delivering cascades of horns, hypnotic Benino-Nigerian rhythms, and captivating solos. The band has played at Central Park Summerstage, the Lincoln Center "Out of Doors" Festival, the Brooklyn Museum, NJPAC, and at festivals and venues throughout New York City.