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It may be 20-odd years since the great Nigerian musician and politican activist Fela Kuti took to the stage (with his 27 singing, dancing wives in tow), but the pioneer of Afrobeat returned to the limelight last week when Fela!, the broadway musical based around his life and currently playing on London’s West End, finally screened in Lagos. Its success in both London and Africa is testament to that fact that, with its visceral rhythms and flourishes, Afrobeat remains as strong and as potent a presence in contemporary music as it was in Fela’s day. Not simply in the music of his sons Femi and Seun, but futher afield – in the pulsing percussion of New York indie four piece Vampire Weekend, or in Paris, in the songs of emerging Nigerian-born star Asha, who takes the passion and playfulness of Nigerian Street music and interweaves it with Fela’s vision of music as a message; for thinking about the world and the lives we lead within it. A spoon full of sugar may help the medicine go down, but so too will a clever chorus; Asha’s Beautiful Imperfection is an ode to the spirit of Afrobeat that would make Fela proud.

Post by Cartell Music 9/02/11