Ahead of this weekend’s gig in The Academy, we caught up with Femi Kuti, a Nigerian musician born in London and raised in Lagos. He is the eldest son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. and a grandchild of a political campaigner, women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat Funmilayo Ransome Kuti.
Femi’s musical career started when he began playing in his father’s band, Egypt 80. In 1986, Femi started his own band, Positive Force, and began establishing himself as an artist independent of his father’s massive legacy.
Describe your sound in one sentence?
Always trying to expand the Afro-beat.
What one song of yours best sums up your life at the moment?
It will be on my next album “Best to live on the good side”
You have been through some serious ups and downs in the past. What has gotten you through it?
My children and music.
What can be done about the state of the world at the moment?
When world governments speak truly with one voice and put into action love and peace.
If you could make one universal law that would be adopted by everyone, what law would you put in place?
Ban all sale of arms (governments selling arms to other countries promoting war), good healthcare and education must be free for all.
What is your most controversial belief?
Not being religious but spiritual.
What was the worst thing you have read about yourself?
That I’d gone mad.
What has been the best gig you have ever played?
Too many to mention, though while I love big audiences, I still get a kick out of the intimacy of a small club.
What was the worst gig you have ever played?
Probably when I performed in Ethiopia (pretty sure it was) and the sound was beyond atrocious.
How has your music changed over the years?
I think with age and experience my music is developing . Always trying to reach greater heights with improvisation and compositions.
Do you have a ritual before your gigs?
Just practice as much as possible to be able to always give a great concert.
What is your biggest influence in the song writing process?
What happens globally especially to people that don’t have the ability to voice their pains.
What makes a good song?
It must be deep and meaningful connecting with making the world a better place for all.
What is your most outrageous touring story?
Maybe my musicians dropping out during a tour and leaving me to find a way to still continue and give a great concert. It’s taken me many years to get loyal musicians to believe in using music as a voice against injustice and corruption.
What are your favourite 3 songs of all time from other artists?
That’s genuinely too difficult for me to say. Probably tunes from jazz and my father, though I wouldn’t determine one to be better than the other.
If you could compare your music to another artist, who would it be?
Right now? No one.
What can the fans expect from your Irish gig?
A full-on show offering the beauty of Africa and universal peace through music.
What’s next for you?
This tour and release of my next album in the early part of ’18.
The Academy, Saturday July 8th
Tickets €25.00 including booking fee