In CalArts, Senior Writer/Editor Freddie Sharmini examines Ladzekpo’s 41-year teaching and mentoring legacy within the history of the Institute’s World Music Program.
The beloved musician directed a final full concert at the Wild Beast on May 6 that featured the CalArts African Storytellers and Dance Ensemble. The ensemble presented his 14th play, FeFe: Don’t Say It Doesn’t Concern You, which focuses on a community embroiled in conflict.
In the politically veiled story, which takes place centuries ago in West Africa, the ultimate leader, Chief Akorsu, owns a ranch with a cow, ram, sheep, goat, chicken and a cat. The animals come together to discuss a problem with the cow, who carelessly kicks his hooves behind him. Though the cat’s concern that the cow’s actions could ultimately hurt someone, the other animals’ indifference eventually leads to tragedy. The community eventually comes together through music and dance to overcome sadness.
As an accompaniment to the CalArts magazine piece, we’ve included video excerpts from the play and a track from Ladzekpo’s 2001 album, Horsu:
Below is the track Kpatsa: