By Benjamin Njoku
Emotion ran high as expected on Friday, April 24. And everyone who thronged the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, venue of the “2Kings” concert featuring scions of Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti readily went home with the feeling that the legend lives on. The Kuti brothers literally brought back the evergreen memories of the late Afrobeat king on stage.
Mounting the stage after the supporting artistes including Adekunle Gold, Museba (cameroun), Simi, Ayoola, Ruby, Niniola, Rayce, Lil Kesh, Black Magic, Oritsefemi, Jesse Jagz, Jagadot, Seyi Shay, DJ Caise and DJ Jimmy Jatt had all taken turns to perform, Seun took the audience on a musical voyage, dancing, playing the piano and the saxophone as well as singing.
He started with “Opposite People’’ an original number by Fela, which he said he usually did at all his concerts as a sign of respect to his late father. But wild excitement filled the hall, when Femi came on stage and rendered some of his old numbers.
Having shown strong commitments to socio-political causes, Femi delivered a very energetic performance, accompanied with a non-stop puff on his saxophone that lasted beyond 10-minutes. His performance literally brought the roof down.
But the audience went wild, clapping and cheering when Seun joined Femi on stage to do some dance steps and sing alongside him. He prostrated before Femi, his elder brother to emphasize that he (Femi) was the reigning “King” of Afrobeat music. They performed together their late father’s evergreen song, “Water No get Enemy” which held the audience spellbound as they kept standing and shouting until the performance ended. The performance was the highpoint of the night. The duo invoked the ghost of Fela on stage.
“I have to do some clearing on the title of this concert. I don’t know why it is titled so. But how can we say, two kings? It is like comparing the big Oba of Ife with one Oba somewhere in a remote Agbado Ijaiye”, Seun had said. To some of the audience, it was a happy reunion for the Kuti brothers who have been locked on supremacy wars over the years.
Before now, Femi and Seun have never been spotted gracing the same stage. But last Friday’s outing made the difference in their careers.
Recall that after the exit of the Afrobeat king, Seun as the youngest son of Fela inherited his late father’s former band ‘Egypt 80,’ while his elder brother, Femi who started playing the saxophone at age 15 and eventually became a member of his father’s band created his own band Positive Force in the late 1980s with Dele Sosimi (Gbedu Resurrection), former key-board player of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Though they had their differences in the past, they are the two commercially successful musical offsprings of the late Afrobeat king. Reuniting on stage marked a turning point in the existing relationship between Femi and his younger brother Seun.