Fela’s Number One Son Talks About His New Album And Picks Six Essential Afrobeat Tunes
We caught up with FEMI KUTI before last night’s show at Webster Hall in NYC. When he said that he thought his new album, No Place For My Dream, is his “best work so far,” we politely mentioned that every artist think their new album is their best work so far. He laughed before replying: “Well I’m not every artist, one,” he said for starters, “and two I think it because I know. I think Shoki Shoki was one of my most powerful albums. So I would say with that album I was on the highway. I defined another level of Afrobeat, the possibilities of Afrobeat with that album.” Full interview After The Jump…
“With Fight to Win I had the opportunity to work with great American hip-hop artists. And then I had the opportunity to record live at the Shrine—I wanted to see the shrine. And I tried to try some technological stuff with Day by Day. On Africa for Africa I went back to Nigeria to record, so people could feel the problems I’m talking about with that album. With this album I think I’m back on the highway as I did with Shoki Shoki, defining again where I am.”
Is all the music on the new album played by your band, Positive Force?
Yes. I stuck more to the Shoki Shoki format is what I’m saying.
Will you be performing any songs from the new album in New York this weekend?
Which ones should we listen out for?
The title track, “There Is No Place For My Dream,” “The World Is Changing,” “We Carry On Pushing On.”
“No Place For My Dream” What’s the meaning of that song?
It’s a story about my life.
That’s a terrible thought. Do you really believe that’s true?
It’s what people say. You’ll have to listen to it. [laughs] Listen to it and enjoy it yourself and come to your own conclusions. If I give you my assessment of it, that wouldn’t really be fair because I’m brainwashing you. So I’ll be biased and then when you are listening you’ll have my thoughts. Best that you listen to it pure and simple. Then you can ask me.
Can I ask you what is your dream?
World peace. Happiness. Love. Jobs for everybody.
The big things.
Yeah the very big things. People say they are impossible.
I hope those people are wrong. This sounds like a really important song.
I’m telling you it is. I know. I’m not biased when I say it’s my most powerful album. I hope you’ll give me a call, or you can even reach me on Twitter and tell me when you get it. You can tell me “Yes you were right.” I’m telling you I’m right. It will be very hard for me to beat this album.
There are still some people who are not familiar with Afrobeat. Can you recommend 5 songs for the them to listen to so they can understand what this music is all about, which 5 songs would you choose?
Yours or anybody’s.
Click Through the gallery above to find out Femi Kuti’s selections…
(Photo by Julien Mignot)