StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Femi Kuti continues the Afrobeat tradition


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Today's video spotlight shines on Femi Kuti, the Nigerian singer and multi-instrumentalist who's coming to St. Louis with his band Positive Force to perform on Saturday, July 9 at The Ready Room.

The eldest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, Kuti was born in London in 1962 and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, raised mostly by his mother. He moved in with his father as a teenager, and eventually began playing saxophone and keyboards with Fela Kuti's band Egypt 80.

Femi Kuti put out his first solo album in 1995, and has enjoyed considerable subsequent success as an artist in his own right, even getting nominated for Grammy awards in 2003, 2010 and 2012 in the world music category (though he's never won). While his music clearly is in the tradition popularized by his father, the younger Kuti has endeavored to bring his own personality to it as well, even learning to play trumpet a few years ago as a way of broadening his instrumental pallette.

You can see and hear some examples of Femi Kuti's music starting with the first video up above, which offers excerpts from his performance at the 2015 edition of “Felabration," an annual event held in Nigeria to honor his father.

After the jump, you can see a full performances by Kuti and his band from 2013 at the SummerStage Concert Series in Milwaukee, WI, followed by a version of his song “Dem Bobo" that was recorded live in 2004 in Lagos.

Below that, there's another full set, from the 2011 Roskilde Festival in Denmark, followed by two videos that incorporate interviews and backstage footage along with performance excerpts, from 2012 in London and 2013 at Webster Hall in New York City.

For more about Femi Kuti, see his 2009 interview with the website AV Club; the interview with him published in 2013 by Huffington Post; and his 2014 interview with Al Jazeera.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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