Femi Kuti to Ditch Afrobeat?


Say it ain’t so! Watch
video clips, below.


By Fred Mills


Last night in Asheville,
at venerable music club the Orange Peel, Afrobeat star Femi Kuti, son of
pioneering master of the genre Femi Kuti, put on a two hour-plus show with his
Positive Force outfit  that showcased
everything that is potent and true of Afrobeat. On tour in America to promote
his recent Africa To Africa album
(read the BLURT review here), Kuti and his big band – Kuti on keyboards, sax
and trumpet; plus guitar, bass, drums, perdussion keyboards, a full horn
section and three saucy dancers/backing vocalists/percussionists – hit a groove
from the very get-go and never let up, not even when Kuti brought things down
to post a spoken word political manifesto or two. One key highlight, in
addition to the new album material: lascivious anthem “Beng Beng Beng.”


The whole venue danced its collective ass off.


Intriguingly, then, Kuti, in an interview published today at
, claims he is “bored” with what he’s doing and intends to have a “new
direction” by at least 2014 – “Something in the next four or five years will
change. I know I have to change.”


In the interview, Kuti cited his desire to expand on his
trumpet playing (he only wielded it marginally at the Asheville show) and to utilize new
technology, possibly “mixing it with rap,” to forge a new direction.


“There’s definitely a bigger following for Afrobeat now,” he said.
“Even people who knew about my father, now they can marry the history and
what was going on in the 70s, 80s, 90s and now. There’s a greater understanding
of this history, definitely. And a lot of producers of hip-hop are great fans
of Afrobeat, so we never know what will develop, musically…. [But change is
also important]… It’s like medicine, you know? It’s like the cure so that life
doesn’t remain stagnant.”


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