Femi Kuti + Mbongwana Star
Festival of Voice presented an eagerly anticipated and high-energy double bill from Afrobeat legend Femi Kuti and rebellious 7-piece outfit Mbongwana Star.
Fresh from the launch of their debut album From Kinshasa, Mbongwana Star’s barrier-busting sound has already caught the attention of the music world. Mbongwana is the Congolese word for “change” and the band have made it their mission to do just that, challenging and changing pre-conceptions about African music. The result is, in the words of Fact Magazine, “Afrobeat with a solid steel casing” – a fusion of traditional Congolese rhythms with a fistful of post-punk bass and busted electronics.
With his no-holds-barred take on Afrobeat, Femi Kuti completed this exciting line-up at St David’s Hall. The eldest son of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, Kuti started playing the saxophone and keyboard with his father’s band when he was 16 and stepped into the spotlight, writing and singing after his father’s death. Inheriting his father’s zeal for both music and activism, Kuti’s energetic funk, jazz and traditional African-fueled songs are infused with sharp social comment, addressing the political corruption and poverty in Nigeria. His second solo album Shoki Shoki, released via MCA, garnered widespread critical acclaim, while 2008’s Day by Day and 2010’s Africa for Africa both received Grammy nominations.