Home / A&E / 2013 Summerfest Guide / Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
Monday, June 10, 2013

Femi Kuti and the Positive Force

Friday, June 28 @ Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, 10 p.m.

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Miles Davis once famously said that Afrobeat will be the music of the future. If that’s the case, then Femi Kuti may well be its standard-bearer. Kuti is the son of Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician who created and gave the name “Afrobeat” to what in the 1970s was a newly identified musical genre. Afrobeat is a blend of Yoruba music, jazz, guitar- and horn-heavy “highlife” music from Ghana, funk and chanted vocals, fused with percussion and vocal stylings. Politics and social criticism play an important role in Afrobeat, and were prevalent in both the music of Fela Kuti and now his son.

           
Three-time Grammy Award nominee Femi Kuti was born in London, but grew up in Lagos, Nigeria’s capital. The reed player, now 50, eventually became a member of his father’s band before forming his own band, Positive Force, in the 1980s, which he took to the international scene in 1988.


Over the years, he has recorded with U.S. hip-hop and R&B artists Mos Def, Common, Macy Gray, The Soultronics, Roy Hargrove and others. He also lent his voice to the videogame Grand Theft Auto IV as the host radio station IF 99. Femi Kuti’s June 28 Summerfest performance will be one of only three U.S. dates he and his band will play this year, so don’t miss it. (Michael Muckian)