Obama, The Musical

As further transition from politics to culture -- although it's not quite Portland-centric yet -- I give you Obama, The Musical. (I'm not talking about the annoying little You Tube animated short but rather the genuine musical celebration that has emerged from Nairobi, Kenya.)

The hour-long play with a cast of 30 young people has just completed its weeklong run in Nairobi and has subsequently received invitations to perform in the UK and in South Africa. As reported by the BBC, the musical tells the story of Mr. Obama's life and stresses the virtues of hard work, selflessness, democracy and public service. "Using a blend of dance, narration and music, Obama the Musical heavily borrows from world cultures, including traditional and contemporary African styles, salsa and country music," Anthony Njagi wrote in Kenya's The Nation newspaper.

And since we have been talking about Obama and music for quite some time here at Culture Shock, I thought our readers might enjoy a brief report from The Daily Telegraph, which talks about some of the songs that have been written specifically for this man at this moment.
Contemporary soul star John Legend serenaded Obama's triumphant nomination at the Democratic National Convention in August, with the suitably vague and aspirational ‘If You're Out There', the lyric mirroring campaign slogans with lines like ‘We've been looking for the world to change' and ‘Tomorrow's starting now'. Rappers including Nas (‘Black President') and Joel Ortiz (‘Letter to Obama') have lent their support, not all of it entirely welcome. Controversial rapper Ludacrise earned a rebuke from the Democratic campaign for his "outrageously offensive" ‘Obama Is Here', which described President Bush as ‘mentally handicapped' and suggested the only official chair Senator John McCain belonged in was a wheelchair. And there have been a host of less celebrated contributions from folk artists, Jamacian reggae singers, rappers, a US latino fusion entitled ‘Cumbia de Obama', and a hispanic reggaeton groove which bafflingly rhymes the candidates name with 'llama', although my Spanish isn't good enough to work out what the connection is between the President elect and a South American mountain camel.

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