Femi Kuti has long been one of the leading lights of Afrobeat. Over the course of a 40-year career he has melded jazz and funk to hypnotic effect while paying loving tribute to Fela Kuti, his pioneering father.
The eldest son of Fela and grandchild of Nigerian women’s rights activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Femi started playing in his father’s band at the age of 15. In 1986 he struck out on his own with his band Positive Force and within three years released his first album ‘No Cause For Alarm’. It was just the start of a wide-ranging journey that has seen Femi collaborate with artists including Common, Mos Def and Jane’s Addiction, while garnering four Grammy Award nominations along the way. Yet, activism is just as important to Femi as his music – despite an ever-busy touring schedule he remains a pro-active ambassador for Amnesty International.
Now, Femi is touring his tenth album, the recently-released ‘One People One World’. For his first album in more than five years he returned to the studio with Positive Force to record a set of songs that expands his musical palette more than ever before. Activism is still central to Femi’s songwriting but elements of reggae, soul, and calypso now sit comfortably alongside his trademark Afrobeat arrangements.
On this episode of the The Stream, we speak with:
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