Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (Wrasse)

 |   |  <1 min read

Femi Kuti: Cant Buy Me
Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (Wrasse)

In 1970 George Melly wrote Revolt into Style, a witty and sometimes scathing look at how the revolutionary, anti-establishment figures in pop art and culture had been assimilated into the mainstream as just another fashion/style accessory.

You'd wonder what Melly might make of Nigerian firebrand musician and lightning-rod political figure Fela Anikulapo Kuti (1938-97) now the subject of an award-winning Broadway musical. As Songlines magazine noted “after decades as a cult hero, Fela Kuti has gone mainstream”.

The Fela banner has always been carried by his son Femi who has taken elements of Fela's revolutionary, horn-driven and thrilling Afrobeat and hauled it into the present day by keeping the songs short (Fela's rolled towards the 30 minute mark and often beyond) and offering remixes.

This album – 14 songs, some about corrupt African and specifically Nigerian politics – is a more smooth and streamlined affair than his father's rambunctious work, but nails the right villains (unprofessional journalists among them), and is relentless in its percussion, organ and horns. By keeping songs below the five minute mark, this delivers a flurry of punches rather than a knock-out blow, although you'll be reeling and gasping for breath by the time the boiling standout Can't Buy Me arrives just five songs in.

This is a more pop-Afrobeat style than Fela's soul-rock, but no less powerful. Especially with volume.

Like the sound of this? Then try this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various, Urban Asian (Nascente/Triton)

Various, Urban Asian (Nascente/Triton)

Two of my sons live in Brixton and one of exciting things about walking the streets -- aside from being offered drugs every 10 paces -- is the soundtrack booming out of shops and cars: old reggae... > Read more

Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

Debashish Bhattacharya: Calcutta Slide Guitar (Elite)

Three years ago I chose the Mahima album by Bhattacharya and American guitarist Bob Brozman (who played at Womad that year) as one of the best of the year in the Herald with the comment that their... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

George Strait and Alan Jackson: Murder on Music Row (2000)

George Strait and Alan Jackson: Murder on Music Row (2000)

There has been quite a tradition in country music of complaining about how it has lost its roots, lost its way, been taken over by big business and stars selling out for the almighty dollar.... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

Elsewhere has already made the case for Bruce Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska as an Essential Elsewhere album. It was not only a great album but a turning point in his career: it allowed him to step... > Read more