Born in London & grewn up in Lagos, Nigeria Femi Kuti is the eldest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. His musical career started at 15 when he began playing in his father’s band, Egypt 80. In 1986, Femi started his own band, Positive Force, and was joined by his sisters Yeni and Sola and began establishing himself as an artist independent of his father’s massive legacy.
Today Femi Kuti is the heart and soul of modern Afrobeat. After his father, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, created the style – a blend of traditional Nigerian drum patterns, the smooth groove of highlife and American soul, funk and R&B – and took it to the world, inspiring people with insistent dance beats and lyrics bristling with political statements. Afrobeat moved several generations of musicians, in Nigeria and around the world, to follow Fela’s dictum and use music as a weapon to fight for justice and freedom. Femi and his band, Positive Force, are at the forefront of that movement, continually expanding the music’s vocabulary, adding hints of punk and hip-hop to the sound, while maintaining its traditional roots and political message. When he’s home in Nigeria, Femi and his band play at The Shrine, the dancehall and concert space he built as a memorial to his father. The club is the eye of the global Afrobeat storm, a gathering place for fans old and new, a rallying spot for activists and dancers.
The new album One People, One World (Knitting Factory Records/ 2018) sees Femi returning to the music’s African roots. Hints of reggae, highlife, soul, R&B and other African, Caribbean and African American flavors go swirling through the mix, adding depth and complexity to the arrangements, but the influences don’t distract from Femi’s signature sound. “When I was a boy, I listened to funk, highlife, jazz, folk songs, classical music and my father’s compositions, so you will hear those things in the music, but everything on this record comes strictly from my heart and soul. Like Africa itself, Afrobeat has endless possibilities within its structure. As we play live at The Shrine, the songs evolve, absorbing the energy of the audience. It’s like painting, with the changing hues and tones of the dancers coloring the music. When we it take it into the studio, you hear all of those influences moving together.” Like his father, Femi has shown a strong commitment to social and political causes throughout his career and continues to fight for a free and fair Nigeria.
Femi Kuti & The Positive Force (live)
Saturday, 17th November 2018 | Doors 19:00 CET | Starts 20:30 CET
YAAM Berlin | An der Schillingbrücke 3 | 10243 Berlin