Femi Kuti and Made Kuti, the father and son Afrobeat double act have combined forces to release Legacy+, a two CD package featuring an album from each of them.
Legendary activist and Afrobeat originator, Fela Kuti leaves a rich legacy. Not only in terms of his music, but those who follow in his wake.
In some ways Afrobeat is a strange beast. Upbeat, dance, rhythms that make you want to move those hips and shake your legs.
But it’s also intensely political at its heart. Fela used it to highlight and lament social injustices and political corruption in his native Nigeria.
Femi and Made continue this path and they both carry on his work as torchbearers for change. The two albums, released on Partisan Records (home to Fela’s catalog) are probably appropriately titled together as Legacy +.
There is still much work to be done. And these two discs will not let up on that task. They are calls for justice, railing against intolerance and corruption. On Pà Pá Pà, Femi implores Nigerians to reject the dishonesty of local politicians: “When government waste our time, government waste our life”
You may be forgiven for thinking these sentiments are not restricted to his native Nigeria and may be equally applicable closer to home.
The message from both may be similar, but the two discs have different feels about them. Femi’s album, Stop The Hate has a typical feel-good vibe about the music, if not the subject matter. That’s typical of his father’s work
Made on the other hand has produced a work, For(e)ward, that feels more measured, more sombre, more jazz in its influences. Maybe this is the result of the fact he played every instrument on his part of this collaboration. He has total control and can dictate the sound as he wishes. Maybe being two generations removed from Fela shows.
Femi says: “I am very excited and happy because as a father I get to perform with my son on my album again, and I get to see him compose, arrange, and play all instruments on his own album. Most importantly, we get to release this project together. It is spiritually soothing and comforting to witness this chapter in my life.”
Made adds, “I truly believe that once in a while we are fortunate enough to write stories for ourselves that we can look back on much later in our lives. This has been one of the greatest positive highlights of my life so far, both musically and transcendently. I’ve learnt so much from my father politically, socially, philosophically and musically that I know this lovely project is only the beginning of more beautiful things to come.”
The cover art for For(e)ward and Stop The Hate features portraits of Femi and Made done by Brooklyn-based artist Delphine Desane, whose work was recently featured on the cover of Vogue Italia.
These are strong albums. They may seem to come from a land and a culture that perhaps feels removed our little island over here in good old Blighty. But, the reality is, we all need to heed the messages here. We have seen what can happen when the power hungry, the narcissists and the outright buffoons take over.
Music may not be The Answer, but it helps a bit more than simply shouting at a wall or throwing the remote at the TV.
These guys have a voice and it deserves to be heard. Listen to them.