Femi Kuti and Positive Force in concert.
Femi Kuti has never felt just satisfied with being the King's heir. He freed himself from the legacy of his father – Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti - by putting together his own band, The Positive Force in 1985, working to find his own voice.
During the 1990s, Femi became a renowned artist in his own right with a distinctive, colorful and balanced style.After a short spell at Motown, he took on the Afrobeat sound with his first international album in 1998 (Shoki Shoki), before rubbing shoulders with the modern urban style of his American peers such as Mos Def and Common. Returning to Lagos, Nigeria he worked on rebuilding the new Shrine – original home of Fela’s band - and released an unbelievable live project recorded in the heat of the moment. Finally his first studio record only came about in 2008, having found inspiration in Paris. This unanimously celebrated release was his most successful one.To complete the cycle, Femi felt he needed to go back to his roots, to the origins of this burning feeling inside him which had fired all his work, and going back to the studio where he had produced his first recordings with his father and his solo album Shoki Shoki. Decca Studio, soon to become Afrodisia Records in the '70s, was the experimenting ground for most Nigerian masterpieces of the time, including those of Fela.
The 48-year old musician and composer has become a true African Ambassador, in its most honorable sense. Indeed the album recording had to be arranged around his busy schedule. For example, Femi was in Johannesburg to sing for Africa the opening ceremony for the Football World Cup. There he sang one of his hits "Beng Beng Beng", and took the opportunity to meet a few of the anti-Apartheid heroes. Shortly after, he was heading off to New York to see the famous and very successful Broadway musical about Fela, where he also got to appear on stage, invited by the actors at the end of the show. "It's truly extraordinary, they really understood my father's struggle and his mindset. This show has got to travel the world, and come down to the Shrine," he says naturally.
DJ Erick Paredes