Words by Peter Adjaye
The ninth album by Femi Kuti, son of the legendary Fela, sees him retain his crown as the true messenger of the spirit of Afro-beat. It is not only filled with fantastically sharp horn arrangements and deft fast-paced rhythms but also enriched with conscious on-point lyrics. Performed live by the new youthful line-up of his truly talented band Positive Force, it sees Femi playing the trumpet as well as the saxophone. The opening track, ‘Nothing to Show for It’, kicks off proceedings in style with an infectious bass line and a rolling organ, topped off with a full-bodied horn section that sets the scene perfectly.
At present, Afro-beat is experiencing a strong global revival, as this album demonstrates on tracks such as ‘The World is Changing’, sung in straight English. A true classic of the genre, with flying guitar licks and powerful lyrics that resonate with indignation about what’s happening around the world in these times of defeated economies and corruption. Another beauty comes in the shape of ‘No Place for My Dream’: an Afro-beat gem with crunchy guitars driving the melody’s moving chord changes. ‘Na So Wee See Am’ is a true carnival-flavoured riot that makes you want to jump up high, thanks to its insistent punch and pulsating rhythms. People get ready; the time has come to dance and listen to the truth.
TRACK TO TRY: The World is Changing
(On Wrasse Records)