Contrary to whatever you may have heard about the Anikulapo-Kutis as a weed-loving dysfunctional family always at loggerheads with each other and the establishment, the time has come to let go of those notions.
The family represented by Femi, sister Yeni and brother Seun as well as the third-generation scion, Made, has had us fooled all the while. They are far from the disagreeable contrarians many make them out to be and anyone in doubt needed to have been at Terra Kulture on Friday, July 2, 2021.
On that night, over 2 hours and some, Made Kuti, Femi Kuti’s first son, who was playing his first gig outside of the family entertainment spot, The Shrine, rallied his father, mother, aunt and uncle to prove once and for all that the maverick Fela Anikulapo Kuti did not just give us afrobeat he also gave us Africa’s most important music dynasty.
While Fela never got a Grammy nomination in his lifetime, his saxophone-wielding sons, Femi and Seun have received Grammy nominations and if Made’s performance and repertory is anything to go by, he is not too far from a Grammy nod.
Tagged an “Evening with Made Kuti” and put together by Faddo Live, the evening was meant to introduce Made Kuti to a more discerning and genteel audience aside the normal habitués of The Shrine and it was a success with the Terra Kulture arena packed with the Gen Z’s and millennials, the young and upwardly mobile of different stripes as well as a sprinkling of older folks.
Handsome, limber and confident, Made Kuti who was fully in charge of his African themed stage seemed to have chosen “Something Old and Something New” as theme for the night as he and his 8 man band and dancers thrilled the audience with his original compositions as well as those of his father and grandfather. He sang, played the sax and took turns on the keyboard all the while directing affairs like an experienced conductor of a massive orchestra. Songs off his Legacy album as well as brand new ones were well received.
From Fela came songs like Sorrow Tears and Blood, Zombie and Palava which Made delivered alongside Uncle Seun who joined him on stage. While from Femi came Bang Bang Bang and Wonder Wonder.
Made’s performance of Fela’s song was poignant especially as the audience took in the lyrics to songs composed and released long before Made was born but which remain as topical and real today.
A beaming and proud, Femi Kuti joined his son on stage to perform his risqué monster hit, Bang Bang Bang. It was funny watching father and Song sing “her yansh, na wahala” but these are the Kutis after all and they made it fun.
In the audience were Made’s maternal grandmother, his auntie Yeni and his mother, Funke all of whom turned the upper section of the arena into a dance floor as they grooved to Made’s percussive exertions.
As far as introductions and entrees go, “An Evening With Made Kuti”, can be ranked as a huge success and it is now the young Kuti against the world.