Amanda Seales — aka Ms. Killandra Bea — and the Shinobis are back by popular demand with Mo' Betta Wu, a jazzy rebirth of the seminal Wu-Tang Clan album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and other vintage Wu classics.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the debut of Enter the Wu... Seales first transformed into Bea, a 75-year-old jazz singer who moved to Shaolin's Stapleton Projects in 1961, back in April at Le Poisson Rouge lounge in New York City.
"I was randomly singing a Wu-Tang song in jazz form and I threw it up on my Instagram and it got a really, really strong response," Seales explained of how the show came about. "I mentioned it to Q-Tip and he was like, 'You should talk to [pianist/composer] Kris Bowers.'"
Backed by a four piece band led by Bowers, Bea channels the Harlem Renaissance to bring Wu-Tang classics to life in an innovative and nostalgic manner.
Why jazz, you ask? "Jazz does what it wants to, and so does the Wu," Seales said at the show's premiere. "Hip hop comes from jazz," she added. "... If I just did Wu-Tang songs with a band, that's karaoke. But adding my love of jazz showed how everything is related."
The reprise of Mo' Betta Wu opens Friday, June 13 at New York's Cutting Room. Doors at 10 p.m.
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(Photo: Jerome A. Shaw/Courtesy of Amanda Seales)