COMPOSERS: Femi Kuti
LABELS: Mk2 Music/UWe
PERFORMER: Femi Kuti (voice), etc
CATALOGUE NO: 8345106292
Not so much an album as an event, Africa Shrine consists of a massive, electrifying set recorded live in Lagos. The audience roars with increasing volume – ‘You are too drunk to listen to my announcement,’ Femi Kuti tells them towards the end – while the music bellows back with keyboards and drum kits and impressive interventions from saxes and brass.
Kuti’s singing towers over them, ardent and vibrant, desperate and uplifting. His songs, as always with him, are personal and pointed: the objects of oppression in ‘I wanna be free’ are politics and corruption. At first the high-energy performances lumber along over a heavy bass, then the pace steadily increases as the show runs on.
It still happens that Femi falls under the shadow of his late father, the great Fela. His London appearance at the time of this CD’s release was put into a Fela Kuti festival; but the contents speak proudly for themselves, whatever the ancestry.