Carrying his dad's Afro-pop torch forward
Reviewed July 2007
The Definitive Collection
By Femi Kuti
Wrasse Records: 2007
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
The son of the late pioneer of Afro-pop, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Femi Kuti has become popular in his own right in both Africa and abroad.
Still, just as Jakob Dylan and Ziggy Marley can attest, being the son of a music legend is a double-edged sword. That connection to fame can open doors that might not otherwise swing your way, but the expectations start out unrealistic and rarely are lowered.
A new two-disc "Definitive Collection" shows that Femi has created a solid body of work in the decade since his father passed. And the opening track, a duet with American rapper Mos Def, shows that Femi is as interested in musical cross-pollination as his father was little surprise in that Femi played in his dad's band for many years. Singers Jaguar Wright and Macy Gray also are featured on different tracks.
The first disc is a compilation of 12 songs taken from his previous albums, and show Femi continuing his father's combination of African motifs with American jazz and R&B strains. The second disc is what really sets this album apart from his earlier "Best Of" album (which has quite a bit of overlap with the first disc of this set) it's 10 of his songs remixed by various d.j.s, giving his already modern Afro-beat sound an even sleeker, almost Euro-beat sheen.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).