Madé Kuti, the afrobeat – RFI Musique subsidiary

Grandson of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, son of Femi Kuti, the young Madé Kuti must necessarily feel the weight of the inheritance on his shoulders. Yet he manages to impose, effortlessly, his expressive power and a pertinent discourse, totally adapted to his time and his generation. He does not refute the spirit of rebellion that accompanies the thought of him, but he is aware that he is living in 2022. His convictions and his personal choices belong only to him and determine the direction of his artistic and civil commitment. While the exhibition “Fela Kuti, afrobeat rebellion” is currently underway at the Musée de la Musique in Paris, the words chosen by Madé Kuti invite us to examine our conscience.

On October 8, 2022, Madé Kuti gave a particularly invigorating performance at the Philharmonie de Paris in front of an audience amazed by the afrobeat passion of this emerging artist. And if France discovered a new member of the Kuti family, the supporters of the Nigerian social uprising already knew that this young talent would win the hearts of thousands of fans. He also did well in school observing, from an early age, the skill of his father, Femi Kuti, on the stage of the Sanctuary, this legendary club in Lagos where Fela made history in the 1970s. And when the time came when Madé had to invest this very symbolic place, on September 25, 2022, the emotion was palpable: ” It was an important date for me because I am a daughter of the Shrine. Throughout my childhood, I have seen my dad perform there 4 times a week. He could play for 6 hours. I was in school, he was on stage; I was coming home from school, he was on stage. He put all his energy into these performances. He has never passed the baton to anyone for decades. The only times he missed the opportunity to perform at the Shrine was when he was traveling abroad. Also, he made sure that his absence was as short as possible, a week at the most! Therefore, having the privilege of succeeding him and trusting him is an honor because holding this mythical stage is not granted to everyone. When I was little, the “Sunday jump” was the unmissable appointment at the Sanctuary. Every day of the week was reserved for rehearsals, but Sunday had to be ready. We wear our best costumes and the musicians put on a show! Being the master of ceremonies today means a lot to me… And I’m sure it means a lot to everyone who has seen me grow up in this legendary place. I will never forget this incredible day ”.

© Cristiano Rosa

Madé Kuti, rebellion with open arms.

Madé Kuti necessarily carries within himself the cultural traditions inherited from his ancestors, but his message is less harsh. He intends to appease souls by seeking harmony and understanding among the citizens of the world. He is not blind and deaf to the aspirations of his contemporaries, but he observes discouragement and apathy. So he swears his music will bring some hope and comfort: ” When you live in a country like Nigeria, everyday life makes you think differently. There is a toxic thought that determines your behavior. It is very depressing. You constantly feel like there are no solutions to your problems. You feel the challenges are insurmountable. Today, in Nigeria, everyone is looking for a way to escape this social pressure. We are no longer looking for solutions that allow us to live in harmony. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope that I constantly have in me. I try to be positive, more for those around me than for myself… I have two brothers and 4 sisters, all younger than me, and I’m thinking about their future in Nigeria. I can’t accept the fact that they can live in a worse country than the current one. If I don’t keep hope and if I don’t play a positive role, I will have failed in my life as a citizen. That’s how I see things. ”

© Cristiano Rosa

Made Kuti in Paris, 08 October 2022.

Fela was a fighter. Femi is a rebel. What will become of Made? By focusing on her statements, diplomacy seems to guide her personal and artistic choices. She does not experience Nigeria’s relentless harshness in the past and is fully aware that her present is less overwhelming and unsustainable. Her positions are, in fact, less radical and uncompromising. He has acquired a temperance that distinguishes him from his ancestors. “I think Femi taught me to be a diplomat. When I was younger, my father lived his daily life very intensely. A bit like Fela, by the way. When Fela symbolically carried the coffin of justice trampled in front of the seat of the military government after the fire of her property called “Kalakuta”, my father Femi was at his side and also suffered the blows of armed repression. He knew the prison. He had to face violence very early in his life. So I’ve seen his behavior change over the years. At 30 he was stern, stubborn, he spoke little. Today, at 60, he is very friendly. So he taught me that we could evolve, that we could have compassion. I consider myself perfectly polite. Nobody lied to me about my origins, about the struggle that my ancestors waged. It’s not something you learn in school, so it’s hard for me to pass this knowledge on to those around me. You have to be patient, show understanding, compromise. These are the human values ​​that my father passed on to me. If I had not had this education, today I would be a rude young man, unable to understand his time. Let me be clear, I’m not trying to water down the message I’m sending to my peers, I’m not evading problems, I’m looking for solutions to the ills of society. This is what I express in my music. I don’t tell people how they should think, I show them a way of thinking differently ”. (Madé Kuti – October 2022)

Inspired artist, committed citizen, witty, Kuti done it has all the qualities to seduce its future admirers. She just has to maintain this height of sight and never get caught up in negative feelings, renunciations and jealousies. Her latest single, ” Stand tall », Supports courage and resilience in the face of adversity and obstacles. His speech continues to refine. His aura can only grow indefinitely …

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