A Tale of Two Femi’s | Community Idea Stations


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A Tale of Two Femi’s

There’s tale of two cities, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the classic Shark Tales. But on this week’s World Music Show (2/24) we have a Tale of Two Femi’s.

We’ll hear from two masters of African music from two styles that are somewhat similar. And, both of these will have uplifting messages. Plus, we’ll be spinning the World Music Wheel O’ Fun!

Kicking off the show will be the Afrobeat artist Femi Kuti. Yes, you may recognize the name—since Femi (along with his brother Seun) are the sons of Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti. And like his brother and father, Femi also has a strong hold in the world of Afrobeat and also plays the saxophone (and trumpet and organ and sings).

And also like his family, Femi’s style in Afrobeat usually leans toward the political when it comes to the messages in his songs (which is one of the main bases of Afrobeat). However, on Femi’s new CD, One People One World, his message is more hopeful than confrontational—meaning speaking to the heart of what’s going on politically in Nigeria.

On One People One World, Kuti goes back to Afrobeats roots of Highlife, American Jazz, Soul and Funk, and adds in some Reggae and Caribbean beats. And, many of the songs are uplifting. We’ll hear two of them “Africa will be Great Again,” and the title “One People ONe World.” 

This is not to say that the entire CD goes against the Afrobeat norm. There are tracks with powerful anthems, such as “Evil People,” and “Corruption Na Stealing,” and “Dem Militarize Democracy” that are a nice and appropriate bookend to the more uplifting songs.

On the flip side, we’ll check a strictly uplifting track from saxophonist and musician Femi Koye. On his CD Iba, which means homage, he pays homage to “Almighty God.” His style is smooth, sweet and rich—but not sappy or overdrawn.

Also featured on this week’s show, we’ll check out tracks from New York’s Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra, a classic Afrofunk cut from Orlando Julius and a really nice pairing of Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet.

And have you heard of the World Music Spinning Wheel O’ Fun? Well, it’s really just a clever ploy of mine to say that we’ll be checking out a bunch of random selections that have no root in an overall theme—but that’s ok. Trust me.

Some of the selections we’ll hear after the Wheel O’ Fun is spun include. Ceci Bastida, Dayme Arocena, Nina Miranda and a couple of tracks from Paul Simon, who from now until forever, we’ll be celebrating his retirement from touring.

Plus, I’ll also play a track from the local trio Miramar, who are made of members of Bio Ritmo and Quatro Na Bassa. Miramar just played a show at In Your Ear Studios (Jam, Inc) this week and man did they blow the roof off the place. A few of the highlights, besides hearing local bassist Rusty Farmer and conga player Hector Barez, was that a few members of Classical Revolution RVA string section came out and played to some arrangements that Miramar member Marylesse Simmons arranged. It was just stunning to hear. The other highlight of the show was Miramar played some new songs that will be featured on an upcoming CD.

For the second hour of the show, the Spinning Wheel will magically land on tracks from Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Ondratropica, Los Crema Paraiso, Ceu, Forro in the Dark, Sue Jorge and CGS—the really fun Italian band.

Lastly, you won’t want to miss when I play a brand new song from David Byrne’s new CD (American Utopia) called “Everybody’s Coming to My House.” I’m trying to get the full album when it’s released next month.

Whether it’s the tale of two Femi’s or the World Music Spinning Wheel O’ Fun, I hope you tune in Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on 88.9 WCVE Richmond Public Radio. You can stream the show via this website and get track listing of this show and past ones too. Plus, you can follow the fun on Twitter @wcveworldmusic and on Facebook at The World Music Show on WCVE.