Femi Kuti, alongside Ruby Gyang, Nonso Bassey and Etuk Ubong delivered riveting performances for all who gathered at ”A night with Femi Kuti.”
Saturday night, September 22 is one for the record books as Afrobeat legend, Femi Anikulapo Kuti left the Afrikan Shrine for the poolside of the Sheraton hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, as he brought the music to his fans in what was the listening party for his recently released 10th studio album, ”One People, One World.”
On Air Personality, Folustorms was the anchor on the night and she wasted no time in welcoming the opening performer in the person of jazz artist, Etuk Ubong on stage.
The event had barely started when we got reminded that we were at an Afrobeat concert, one from the playbook of the Abami Eda, late Fela Anikulapo Kuti as Etuk Ubong performed the song, ‘Mass Corruption’, where he went on an open roll call of past and present Nigerian leaders, who he described as corrupt leaders.
He was immediately followed by former ‘The Voice Nigeria’ alumni, Nonso Bassey who thrilled the crowd with some romantic offerings.
While Chocolate City affiliate, Ruby Gyang also brought down the building with her energetic and quite impressive performance as she got members of the audience dancing along to her songs.
The moment everyone had been waiting for however arrived in quick time, as Femi Kuti alongside members of his ‘Positive Force’ band took to the stage and opened his set performing the classic song, ‘Truth don die.’
Boasting a career that has lasted four decades, Femi Kuti is music majesty and he fully exhibited it once again on the night, perfectly in sync with his band members, his focus on getting every movement right, the facial expressions and gaiety dance all showed attributes of someone who has perfected the act of live performances, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
There was a brief question and answer session as Femi interacted with the audience before moving to the main set for the night.
On what new influences are on the new album, he says, ”I have not listened to music since 2000, of course when you go to the mall or visit places, you hear music here and there, but I nerver go out of my way to listen to music.”
In the beginning, it was my father who got me listening to music but I read a Miles Davis book, where he said, I wanted to be original, so I stopped listening to music, so I took to that and stopped allowing influences,” he continued.
Speaking on how he manages to keep a positive mindset, Femi replies, ”We have to remain optimistic, there has to be balance in this life… I am sure many of you heard about my bassist absconding, I know this one [he points to his son, Made, who was on stage] will not abscond,” he joked as he shared stories of admiration about his son, who recently became an official member of his band and his other children.
He then answered the question on what he hopes the album will inspire in people, ”I think it will inspire people, the title of the album says it, we do have to understand that we are one people… see, the day I die, I want to die with a smile, I am 56 now, I am not afraid, becuase I know it will eventually come,” he declares.
At the end of the session, Femi in agreement with the audience went on a journey of his old songs, as he performed records like ‘Africa For Africa’, ‘Politics na Big Business’, ‘Wonder Wonder’ and the ever exciting ‘Bang Bang Bang’, which generated a loud response from the crowd, before introducing songs from the new album, or the future as he calls it, bringing the night to a glorious end.
”A night with Femi Kuti” provided many with an opportunity to see the man they adore out of his ‘regular home’, and as Femi dazzled with a smile during every song, the fans could tell that this was an uncommon night, a rare sighting and a very special occassion.