'Live At The Shrine' (a DVD film by Raphael Frydman) - Femi Kuti & Positive Force


Fela Kuti was a hero to Nigerians. In defiance of the country’s corrupt and brutal regime during the seventies, he formed the Kalakuta Republic and declared it independent of the State. It included a commune with a recording studio where afrobeat was born. Later he would open a notorious night club on the outskirts of Lagos called ‘The Shrine’. Today, Fela’s son, Femi Kuti has built a new Shrine and continues to move his father’s musical legacy forward. On a new DVD, the heir of afrobeat reflects on the symbolic significance of The Shrine in the bonus interview feature and dodges drinking bottles and chairs without blinking as he and his band power through a set before his hometown fans in the ample performance footage, conveying both the power and joy of afrobeat. To see Femi Kuti and Postive Force LIVE is to witness a controlled explosion. The stage almost appears to ripple with waves of energy. That’s the power of afrobeat, and Femi Kuti should know how to play it. His father invented the rhythm along with his drummer, Tony Allen. The Shrine was afrobeat’s home, a seat of protest where music was the weapon. The club and others after it which shared its name were closed down and demolished by authorities but Femi Kuti has created the new Shrine in his father’s honor and as an enduring gift to his people. The facility serves as a community centre during the day and performance space in the evening. For Femi Kuti, afrobeat continues to be a family affair. His teenage son often performs with him on alto sax and his youngest brother, Seun Kuti is touring North America with their father’s old band, Egypt 80.