Femi Kuti: 2018
Femi Kuti and members of the Positive Force in Studio A (photo by Dan Tuozzoli/WFUV)
Nigerian artist Femi Kuti, born in London and raised in Lagos, is the heart and soul of modern Afrobeat. He's the eldest son of Fela Kuti, the pioneering Afrobeat master, and the grandchild of the anti-colonialism and women's rights activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti.
Femi started playing music in 1979 at the age of 15 with his father's band, Egypt 80. In the mid '80s, he started his own band, the Positive Force, and established himself as an artist independent of his father's legendary impact and influence. Femi, armed with his saxophone and indefatigable spirit, follows his father's tradition of using music as an instrument for change, regarding social justice to be at the core of his work.
His new album, One People One World, was recorded in Lagos and combines Afrobeat with reggae, Latin, and gospel sounds. In this Studio A session, I had the pleasure of talking with Femi Kuti about the album and he and his band played an uplifting two-song set.
You can hear the full interview and performance below, and also as part of tonight's edition of The Whole Wide World, which kicks off at 6 p.m., EDT. You also have two chances to see Femi Kuti & the Positive Force in person in the New York area, at New Jersey's Ridgefield Playhouse on July 26 and Central Park SummerStage on July 29.