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

Asa: Asa (Naive)

Asa: Asa (Naive)

Channeling equal parts Bob Marley, Joan Armatrading, Tracey Chapman and Minnie Riperton would seem quite some feat, but this Paris-born singer-songwriter of Nigerian descent makes it seem... > Read more

Yom: Le Silence de l'Exode (Buda Musique)

Yom: Le Silence de l'Exode (Buda Musique)

This emotionally engaging and often spiritually elevating album is an engrossing journey in music through myth, mystery and landscapes in the crescent between Eastern Europe and North Africa.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ERIKA DARKSSON INTERVIEWED (2018): What lies beneath

ERIKA DARKSSON INTERVIEWED (2018): What lies beneath

Warning: The following article contains references to violence, sex and obscene language. Reader discretion is advised. When I look back, I think I was always different from other... > Read more

TROMBONE SHORTY INTERVIEWED (2011): Born to blow

TROMBONE SHORTY INTERVIEWED (2011): Born to blow

Troy Andrews – better known as Trombone Shorty – is one of the rising stars of the New Orleans jazz scene. But he had a head start, he was playing trombone in local brass bands when... > Read more