Music News

Femi Kuti

In Africa, Femi Kuti shoulders expectations on a par with the burdens borne by Sean Lennon and Lisa Marie Presley. His father, Fela Kuti, was an enormous star in his native Nigeria and the African continent as a whole, thanks to his brilliantly spirited and danceable music, popularly known as Afrobeat. Rather than running from this legacy, Femi, who's on the road with Daara J, embraces it. His music is overtly influenced by his dad's work, as is clear from Live at the Shrine, now available from Palm Pictures. The package is dominated by a DVD that juxtaposes footage of daily life in Lagos, the Nigerian capital, with concert performances captured at the Africa Shrine, a venue Femi built and plays at in honor of Fela. Also included is a companion CD in which Femi surveys original material such as "I Wanna Be Free," which freely mingles political activism with killer grooves, and covers the Fela classic "Water No Get Enemy." Yes, the original's better, but Femi acquits himself well under impossible circumstances. He's a tireless and dynamic performer, and while he remains in the shadow of his pop, he seems to be thriving there.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts