Femi Kuti's music has given the plight of the Nigerian people a voice on the world stage. Though the nation is mired by extreme poverty, conflict, and government corruption, Kuti’s music and his Positive Force band celebrate the irrepressible spirit of the people.
This week, Kuti returns to the Bay Area to perform at one of his favorite venues.
"The Fillmore is definitely one of my favorite places," Kuti told SF Weekly in 2010. "Over the years, we have built a good following there. I've been there several times now, and it's always been great." He typically performs up to three hours at The Fillmore shows.
The son of Fela Kuti, whose Afrobeat cuts served as a soundtrack to protest in the ‘70s, Femi Kuti has continued his father’s musical and political legacy. Because of this, he’s often been at odds with the Nigerian authorities, though the lines have softened in recent years.
In October 2012, Fela Kuti’s Kalakuta commune in Lagos was converted into a museum celebrating his work and his heritage – all with the support of his son and the Lagos government, which contributed $250,000 in grants.
Though undoubtedly his father’s son, Femi Kuti is keen to relate the tradition of Afrobeat to the contemporary urban American experience. He has worked with rappers Mos Def and Common, toured with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and has lent his voice to the host of the International Funk 99 radio station in the popular computer game Grand Theft Auto IV.
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force play The Fillmore on Jan. 19.