Monday 7 May 2018

On Stage: Femi Kuti and Positive Force @ Paradiso Tolhuistuin

Fortunately I have seen one of the founders of afrobeat, Tony Allen, play several times. The other founder, Fela Kuti, I never got to see and unfortunately he has parted with us quite some time ago. Watching his sons Femi and Seun is the closest you can get to him and after seeing Seun a couple of times I am finally able to go to a Femi Kuti show with his band Positive Force.

Femi Kuti and Positive Force at Paradiso Tolhuistuin Amsterdam, May 4 2018

Femi tells us he will turn 56 in a few weeks. He’s the eldest of the two brothers that keep the legacy of their father alive. Both do that in their own way but still stay close to the original afrobeat. Both do it with a lot of heart and fire and like their father are passionate about their country, the continent and about standing up against corruption and oppression.

Femi may be older but the charismatic musician hasn’t lost any of his energy. He’s dancing all over the stage, once in a while playing his alto sax or organ. It is the use of keys that at the same time carries his signature and also adds another true African touch to the music, reminding of the music from the late seventies and early eighties like fellow Nigerian William Onyeabor.

Positive Force is a big band where drums, percussion, guitar, bass, horn section, keys and dancers fill up the stage completely. They are a delight to watch and together with Femi energize the crowd that starts to dance immediately. Femi checks if we’re still paying attention now and then, but of course we are when so much is going on. Except when he’s trying to teach us a few dance moves where he jokes he’s a bit disappointed at our dancing skills.

It is a two hour show with older and brand new songs, that has all the ingredients of a wonderful afrobeat party the way Fela intended it to be. Femi brought The Shrine to Amsterdam tonight and his father couldn’t be more proud. Next month Seun will most certainly do the same when he visits this venue. And I’m definitely there again to join the dancing.

All Pictures

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