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“When we put ourselves in other people's shoes, we can do amazing things. When we show and share our emotions, we connect” –Sila 2010 NAACP Image Award winning artist Sila announces the release of his new video “Emotions.” Inspired by the devastation of the Haitian earthquake and the outpouring of compassion, empathy, and love from people all over the world, “Emotions” is closer to a short film than a typical music video. Sila, a Kenyan expatriate now residing in SF, describes it as a “love story focused on two people living separate lives.” With nods both to the Hitchcock classic “Rear Window” and “Pleasantville,” the storyline revolves around a painter confined to a wheelchair, played by Sila. His neighbor, played by Leah Thompson, is a beautiful woman who appears to have everything, yet the appearance of togetherness masks a crumbling façade of sadness and uncertainty. As the woman’s world—rendered in black & white tones—begins to unravel, the painter reconnects her to her feelings – and to love – by leaving vibrantly colorful paintings at her doorstep. Through sharing his artistic gift, he encourages her to be fearless and ultimately, to share her emotions. As the storyline plays out, a swirling, moody musical background revolves around a dubby guitar-and-bass riff which gives way to strident horns and rumbling drums, as its cathartic message is unleashed. “I want you to show emotions/ I want you to share emotions,” Sila urges on the song’s chorus. It’s easily the most powerful, most mature-- and most accessible—song the musician has made to date. Even before its release, “Emotions” resonated uncannily with live audiences, evoking an overwhelming response when previewed at the SF Hearts Haiti Benefit at the Independent and during a 2010 Italian tour. Additionally, a fan-made promo trailer for “IronMan 2” which uses the song as its soundtrack has garnered over 25k views on YouTube. Available now on iTunes and Amazon.com, “Emotions” is the first single off of Sila’s forthcoming solo debut, “Music for Superheroes” (scheduled for Spring 2011). The album finds Sila breaking out of the Afrobeat-centric box he explored for seven years with his former band the AfroFunk Experience, boldly venturing into previously-uncharted rhythmic waters, while still maintaining his African roots, his compassion for humanity, and his fervor for funky grooves. “Emotions” is a song for everyone who’s ever had their heart broken and learned to love again. A song for anyone who has allowed the pain of the world to numb their soul, only to rekindle their inner flame. A song which reminds us that ultimately, the personal, social, and political worlds around us are all connected. Sila, “Emotions”; Directed by Claire Scanlon & Sila Produced by: Coreen Salamanca Director of Photography: Marlon Torres Edited by: Claire Scanlon Digital Colorist: Marlon Torres Starring: Sila, Leah Thompson, Pablo Soriano, Amaiya Stragalinos, Dimitrios Stragalinos, Jordan Sweet-Rose, Carl Wendling Shot on the Canon 5DM2 & 7D.
Eleven years after his death, the legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti lives on. Born on October 15, 1938, Fela died on August 2, 1997 from an AIDS-related illness. In his lifetime, he saw a period of tremendous change, as African nations threw off the yoke of European colonialism. Despite independence, the government of Fela’s native Nigeria soon became notoriously corrupt, inspiring well-known protest songs like “Zombie,” “Army Arrangement,” “Water Na Get Enemy,” “Expensive S*it,” and “Coffin For Head of State.”
Known as the father of Afrobeat, Fela pioneered a sound which integrated traditional Yoruban melodies and vocal chants with elements of funk, jazz, and soul. After visiting America in the late ‘60s, Fela became hip to the liberation movement associated with the Black Panthers. From then on, his already sexually-charged music began to resonate with messages of community empowerment and political outspokenness. Changing his last name from Ransome-Kuti to Anikulapo-Kuti (“He Who Carries Death in His Quiver”), Fela declared famously that “music is the weapon.”
In honoring Fela’s birthday, Sila and the Afrofunk Experience and DJ Jeremiah hope to raise awareness while giving people an opportunity to dance, party, and find their community. A live performance by the Afrofunk Experience will preview selections from thier upcoming album Shelter as well as material from critically acclaimed CD The Funkiest Man in Africa.
As if that wasn’t enough, DJ Jeremiah and the Afrobeat Nation will add live instrumentation to Fela classics. This birthday celebration, which also features sets by Andy Allo and Pleasuremaker, promises to be an evening of funky, danceable, and consciousness-stimulating rhythms with a powerful message -- namely, that music is still the weapon of the people.
Sat Oct 25 Maisha Productions Proudly Present Fela Kuti Tribute A Night of Gritty, Funky, Hard-Hitting Afrobeat and Afrofunk Music The Independent 628 Divisadero St. San Francisco, CA 94117