Femi Kuti's Afrobeat Energizes the Bowl
Femi Kuti will be forever known as the son of the late Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, but at the Hollywood Bowl Sunday night, the son proved once again that he can live up to his father’s legacy – and then some.
Part of KCRW’s World Music Series at the Bowl, the mix of American jazz-funk and the African rhythms that characterize the London-born, Nigerian-raised Kuti’s music energized even the generally laid back LA crowd. (It’s too bad that many of the exuberant dancers in our section were shoo-ed out of the aisles and back into the seats. The spontaneity of the music is just part of what makes it so great.)
Kuti was flanked by three African women dancers/back-up singers, his band Positive Force and his own young son on sax and percussion, no doubt the next generation of this politically minded, musical dynasty.
Unfortunately, Mos Def’s set, sandwiched between Kuti and the opening act, was more mellow and focused on his more experimental, jazzy sound. Hard core Mos Def fans looking for his trademark socially conscious, intelligent rap were left wanting more. Starting the evening was the Senegalese hip-hop trio Daara J (Faada Freddy, N'Dongo D and Aladji Man) who sing in French, Spanish, English and a Sengal dialect. Their crisp and crowd-pleasing set showed that rap – music, in fact – is universal.