No Place for My Dream (Knitting Factory Records, 2013)
Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and singer Femi Kuti, one of the sons of legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, has solidly captured the essence of this compelling musical genre. Of all the Afrobeat acts out there, Femu Kuti has managed to combine the vibrant rhythm and brass sections with absorbing lyrics. At a time when the radio airwaves are dominated by vacuous pop, corporate rap and navel watching singer-songwriters, it’s refreshing to listen to songs where the artist discusses topics of great importance.
Femi Kuti’s latest album, titled No Place for My Dream features an outstanding band: Femi Kuti on vocals, saxophone, trumpet, organ; Opeyemi Awomolo on guitar; Dotun Bankole on tenor saxophone; Daniel Bankole on baritone saxophone; Gbenga Ogundeji on trumpet, background vocals; Oluwaseun Ajayi and Herve Salter on keyboards; Akin Akinboro on drums; Seun Oyemade on percussion; and Anthonia Bernards and Kate Udi as dancers, background vocalists.
Although Femi’s music is deeply inspired by his father’s music, his sound is more modern. The pieces feature keyboard and saxophone melodies and multifaceted rhythms. “I knew I never wanted to be just like my father,” exclaims Femi, “I was being groomed to be like my father, even in the way I dressed. That wasn’t what I wanted. I needed something more challenging. I wanted to break away.”
Throughout the album, Femi discusses problems such as justice, poverty, political corruption, unemployment, and other issues. These are problems that affect not only Nigerians, but also people in many other parts of the world, including the so-called developed western countries.
Afrobeat is in great shape in the hands of one of its indisputable masters, Femi Kuti. North American audiences will be able to enjoy his music and messages live this summer.
Cedar Cultural Center, 16 Cedar Ave S
Tickets: $45, Doors Open: 7 pm, Show: 8 pm
The Opera House, 735 Queen St E