Femi KutiMade Kuti - Legacy + Music Album Reviews

Femi KutiMade Kuti - Legacy + Music Album Reviews
On the duo’s generation-spanning double album, Fela Kuti leads in spirit while the baton gets passed down the family tree.

Fela Kuti, the Nigerian activist and Afrobeat pioneer, became famous in the 1970s with an inventive mix of Highlife melodies, Yoruba chants, uplifting jazz, and funk infusions. A dynasty has since steadily carved itself out. For years, Fela’s sons Femi and Seun Kuti have carried the torch, with the latter inheriting his father’s former band, Egypt 80. It’s a legacy that continues to keep fires alive at home in Lagos while the genre’s influence spreads far and wide, from inspired foreign bands like Antibalas reinterpreting Afrobeat in distant continents to hip-hop samples in songs by Missy Elliott and Nas.
Legacy+ is a celebration of that status quo and a nod to Afrobeat’s future. Fela’s eldest son Femi Kuti, now 58, has spent years performing after Fela’s death. Femi’s own eldest son Made, 25, did not witness Fela in person, but the spirit of the music and the weight of his inheritance was enough to direct his musical path. What Legacy+ offers is a merging of Fela’s legend, Femi’s unrelenting struggle, and Made’s extension of the genre: three generations of Arobeats in one place.

Fela’s political ethos and sound echo throughout Femi’s half of the double album, Stop the Hate, in polyrhythmic drum patterns dressed with commentary about government accountability and its debilitating effects on the masses. “Na Bigmanism Spoil Government” cheekily strikes at the core of class politics in Nigeria. “Come on, tell them, let them change their ways,” Femi instructs his band, with the help of deep horn grooves. Afrobeat demands that you move to the rhythm, even if your heart is straining with the gravity of the message.

Femi doesn’t always punch up. Building an improved society involves labor from the community, too. “Set Your Minds Free” redirects his sermon to the people. Leaving space for instrumentation, his yearning picks up as he admonishes his countrymen: “Don’t let them confuse you. Don’t let them deceive you. Don’t let them think for you,” he says—it’s part-grating, part-melodious, by design.

Where Femi can drift off into poignant pining, Kuti stands on strong storytelling and delivery. He’s still towing the family theme of freedom, justice, and responsibility. But there’s a renewed energy to his offering. At just 25, Made didn’t experience Fela Kuti’s brilliance in person. But he’s inherited his flair for experimentation. “Blood” leans closer to funk in its production, as Made explores the conditioning that allows citizens to accept bad governance. On rare occasions where he stops addressing the government, his attention shifts to mundanities: “You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful,” he emphatically repeats on “Young Lady.”

The Kuti family has long delivered on the thankless task of holding a mirror up to Nigeria’s dysfunction. With Made’s emergence, that responsibility isn’t leaving their household any time soon.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Femi KutiMade Kuti - Legacy + Music Album Reviews Femi KutiMade Kuti - Legacy + Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Saturday, February 27, 2021 Rating: 5

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