Femi Kuti – Africa Shrine

Femi Kuti has been as blessed by the prodigious talent running through his veins as he has been cursed by living in a creative world circumscribed by everyone’s expectations of him as the son of the extraordinary Fela Kuti.

How does one get over being constantly compared to a figure with such epic talents, appetites and propensity for trouble as Fela? How indeed as pretty much the whole world seems to have switched on to the Black President himself in the last 12 months.

The New Africa Shrine is a political party in every sense of the word. It is a channel of communication between Femi and his own people. I recommend every pop star should have one, it would stop them from getting so pompous

Femi’s previous albums have seen him define his own, tighter, afrobeat sound than his father’s and allowed him to explore a mutual love affair with Western dance music and hip hop. Now — with remarkably good timing — Femi has released his sixth album at the height of Fela fever and it is his most reminiscent of his father’s work to date.
Perversely, though, it does not feel like he is falling in behind his father’s legacy but rather stepping out from his shadow and saying: ‘I don’t have to be different and I don’t have to be the same, I will do my things my own way.” I get the feeling that this is the relaxed, mature work of someone who no longer has as much to prove.
One of his great labours of love has been to recreate his father’s ‘Shrine’ in a new location. The New Africa Shrine is a political party in every sense of the word. It is more importantly a channel of communication between Femi and his own people. I recommend every pop star should have one, it would stop them from getting so pompous. Africa Shrine was recorded live at the New Africa Shrine in Lagos and it has that wonderful feeling you get when musicians are not out to prove anything apart from the fact that they are going to give it their all. Just listen to him affectionately chide his fan base for their propensity to litter and, as you can see on the video, throw plastic bottles at Femi on stage.
And I think it is for all of them that he has resurrected one of his father’s best tunes Water No Get Enemy (notice how it is not ‘Get No’ it is ‘No Get’, just about every reviewer has been getting this mixed up). I was at Ocean in Hackney a couple of years ago when he performed this track live and everyone went as mad for it there as they do in Lagos on the night this album was recorded.
Just as good though are his own anthemic tunes like Dem Bobo with which he kicks off the album or I Wanna Be Free which deals with some of the pain that he has been through since his father died and my favourite, the slower paced Eho.
Also see: Femi Kuti Live at the Shrine (DVD)
Euro Tour Dates
October 2004
27th Centralstation, Darmstadt, Germany
28th Usine, Geneve
29th Rote Fabrik, Z¸rich
31st Kesselhaus / Kulturbrauerei, Berlin
November 2004
6th Melkweg, Amsterdam
7th The Paard,Den Haag
9th Muffathalle, M¸nich
12th Bikini, Barcelona
13th KafÈ Antzoki, Bilbao
14th La Riviera, Madrid
Dem Bob
I Wanna Be Free
If Them Want To Hear
Can’t Buy Me
Bring Me The Man Now
Intro Shotan
Water No Get Enemy
Link (in French and with French tour dates): mk2
Africa Shrine is released on mk2 music
Interview with Femi Kuti
Link: Pictures of Femi Kuti live at the Barbican in London

20 thoughts on “Femi Kuti – Africa Shrine

  1. this album is a classic for liberated, jazz-infested minds..
    every track will be evergreen
    the son of a lion always resembles a lion.


  2. Today, 15th October 2004 marks the 66th post humous birthday of the late icon, social crusader, humanist, pan-africanist..etc..etc…
    Fela Anikulapo-Kuti,
    this is a glowing tribute to him
    Africa is still ravaged with greedy leaders, corruption, mismanagement, soldiers and politicians
    nothing has really changed since your death , Fela
    ..when, when will Africa be free, be free..?


  3. Is there anyone in Lagos who can write to Fly and tell the world where the best music is going on and who apart from Femi is worth checking?


  4. Yeeparipa… dem don increase fuel price for Naija again oooh..Femi kuku don talk say na N100 PER LITRE DEM STILL DEY GO. Now rumour abounds dat government wants to hike the price again from N53 to N75…
    Na wah oh. Femi Kuti come back quickly from your tour cos Naija is too hot for us.. its only at the shrine we find succour and the spirit of the lost continent..AFRICA


  5. Damian..please help us tell Femi to play this songs again at the Shrine when he comes back to Nigeria…
    Theory of Togetherness(TOT), No cause for alarm..
    and these ones by Fela;
    Akuna kuna, senior brother to perambulator..


  6. I saw Femi play last Thursady in Dublin, it was one of the best shows I have ever been to. I would love to head over to Lagos to see him in action at the Shrine, but the CD and DVD will be the closest I get for a while yet.


  7. I saw Femi for the first time last week in Dublin. The man is an outstanding artist and performer. The place went crazy and he got a great recption from the Irish/Nigerian crowd. Only sorry the DVD wasn’t on sale on the night. Please come back again Femi


  8. I give accolades to Femi Kuti on this one. Femi has great skill. The difference between his and his fathers music is just the time frame in which both songs were sang. Femi also has wonderfull blend of instruments but his lyrical strenght is not as strong or as deep as his dads in my own perspective. His food for thought is easyly digested. Rare for a singer of his caliber.


  9. Femi is the hardest working musician on the face of africa today…he still has many good songs to make that’ll definitely be masterpieces..ride on Femi


  10. Femi is great…and the greatness imputed upon him by Fela is being vigorously transfered to his nine and half year old son, Made… who is already burgeoning into a virtuoso…
    long live AFROBEAT


  11. Shoki o, i beg you in the name of Olodumare pls play the last of Fela’s classics Condom Scally wag Scatter(CSWS) the last time i heared the song was ’96/ early ’97 from the Alabami himself. that song is off the hook. i swear the day you play Condom in the New Africa shrine, the ancestors would rejoice bcos they also do miss the classic.


  12. African Soul Rebels Tour 2007 – Femi Kuti, Ba Cissoko and Akli D

    Once again, three outstanding stars of African music are coming to the UK on this years’ African Soul Rebel tour….


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