As a musical genre, Afrobeat music has long enabled a thrilling connection between listeners and the African culture. Throughout its history, the genre has moved and inspired audiences, affecting millions of fans including Tunde Folawiyo and others throughout Africa with an appreciation for this vibrant mixture of beats and chants. Although there have been many Afrobeat artists of renowned talent, one man – Fela Kuti – stands at the forefront of the genre’s establishment. His son, Femi Kuti, remains one of the most popular artists of the Afrobeat genre, following in his father’s footsteps of creating culturally rich music for the masses.
Born 16 June 1962, Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti, more popularly known as Femi Kuti, is the oldest son of musical pioneer Fela Kuti, who established the Afrobeat musical genre in the 1970s. Born in London, Femi was raised in Lagos. He began his Afrobeat career as a member of his father’s band. Much like his father, Femi displayed a passion for invoking social and political change through music. During the late 1980s, Femi created his own band with Dele Sosimi, a former keyboard player for Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The band was called Positive Force.
Whilst the music of Femi Kuti was popular throughout Africa, his international career progressed upon his invitation to perform in various locations throughout France and Germany in 1988. Further demonstrating his world-wide reputation as a key player in the African music industry, Femi collaborated with a number of U.S. musicians including Common, Mos Def and Jaguar Wright on his 2001 Fight to Win album. In 2002, as part of a compilation CD in tribute to his father, named Red Hot & Riot, Femi produced a remake of Fela Kuti’s classic, “Water No Get Enemy”. In collaboration with a variety of hip-hop and R&B artists such as D’Angelo, Macy Gray and Nile Rodgers, the track’s proceeds were donated to charities focused on raising AIDS awareness, drawing attention to the harsh reality of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
A testament to his talent and influence on the Afrobeat genre, Femi Kuti was nominated for a Grammy award four times, in 2003, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Whilst he has yet to walk away with the award, his everlasting influence on African music is not lost upon fans of Afrobeat. Inspiring millions of music lovers throughout African, including Tunde Folawiyo, Femi Kuti’s influence and that of his father continue to be seen.