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Andy Gill

It’s always been hard to translate the irresistible propulsion of Femi Kuti’s live shows into a comparably effective studio realisation, but with One People One World he makes a decent stab. This apple, clearly, has not fallen far from the tree: the staccato keyboard, Afrobeat percussion, massed horns and choruses of tracks like “Africa Will Be Great Again”, “Dem Militarize Democracy” and “Dem Don Come Again” follow the approach pioneered by Femi’s father Fela Kuti, as do his pidgin diatribes against corruption and oppression – sadly, shadows still not cleared despite the passing of a generation. Femi’s broadsides may be blunt, unsubtle cudgels, but the real message lies in the music itself, a blend of lightness, power and majesty that’s truly uplifting, with nimble guitar vamps and cyclical soukous figures anchoring the ebullient horn fanfares and chanted vocal responses, a fitting example of collective power. And with Femi’s son Omorinmade Anikulapo-Kuti featured on piano and bass, the flame is clearly passing to another generation, undimmed and inextinguishable.

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It’s always been hard to translate the irresistible propulsion of Femi Kuti’s live shows into a comparably effective studio realisation, but with One People One World he makes a decent stab. This apple, clearly, has not fallen far from the tree: the staccato keyboard, Afrobeat percussion, massed horns and choruses of tracks like “Africa Will Be Great Again”, “Dem Militarize Democracy” and “Dem Don Come Again” follow the approach pioneered by Femi’s father Fela Kuti, as do his pidgin diatribes against corruption and oppression – sadly, shadows still not cleared despite the passing of a generation. Femi’s broadsides may be blunt, unsubtle cudgels, but the real message lies in the music itself, a blend of lightness, power and majesty that’s truly uplifting, with nimble guitar vamps and cyclical soukous figures anchoring the ebullient horn fanfares and chanted vocal responses, a fitting example of collective power. And with Femi’s son Omorinmade Anikulapo-Kuti featured on piano and bass, the flame is clearly passing to another generation, undimmed and inextinguishable.

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