On November 18, the Jacques Brel room in Gonesse, France, vibrated to the sounds of Afrobeat. Femi Kuti and his famous group The Positive Force hold audiences who came to support him from all over France spellbound for over an hour. His fans had been waiting for such a great moment for a few months. There was no question of missing this encounter which promised nice surprises. Besides, it was enough to see the public’s excitment just with the expectations while they waited for the artist to enter. Thunderous applause greeted the musician’s arrival. This beautiful introduction allowed the artist to immediately get into the mood for the special evening. In a very particular style reminiscent of his legendary father’s, Femi Kuti sang and danced to the rhythm of the trumpet and the sax, which he played himself.
Femi Kuti passes the baton to Made. Passing from one corner of the stage to another, twirling around, surrounded by three dancers and nine musicians including Made, his son, his songs addressed the usual themes: corruption, endemic social unrest to Africa and political shenanigans. Among the Kuti, music rhymes with civic engagement. The stage is used not only to sing and dance but also and above all to denounce the abuses of African society in general. During this concert, the artist spoke in particular to African youth. In essence, he reminded us that it was time for it to take charge. The time had also apparently come for Made, his son, to stand on his own feet, as the father engaged in a musical baton relay.
A new era is shaping up for the third generation and knowing the Kuti, the next generation promises great surprises. Also, in the last minutes of the show, after a duet with his son, Femi Kuti left him the direction of the show, a challenge which the young man rose up to. There was total communion with the musicians, same style and same body language, Made showed the audience a side of his talent which represents the future of the clan. Father and son released an album called Legacy. The album is reminiscent of the legacy Femi received from his father and that he, in turn, passes on to his son.
After more than an hour of concert, the Afrobeat notes still echoed in the hall. The public, standing, had difficulty leaving as if they wanted to keep the show going all night. Femi Kuti and The Positive Force were performing as part of the 33rd edition of the Africolor festival, the nomadic festival in the Ile-de-France region which started in the region on November 12th.
Editor’s notes: This article was first published in French on the African Counter magazine at https://african-counter.com/music/femi-kuti-passe-le-temoin-a-made/. It was translated by 1 In Music with permission.