Thursday, June 25, 2009
Femi Kuti U.S Tour 2009
Banning Eyre caught up with Femi Kuti on the eve of his summer 2009, U.S. tour. They spoke about the recent Nigerian government closing of Femi’s club in Lagos, The New Africa Shrine. They also spoke about Femi’s most recent recording, Day By Day. Here’s their conversation.
Banning Eyre: Welcome back to New York, Femi, and welcome back to Afropop. It’s great to see you again.
Femi Kuti: Thank you very much. It’s good to be back.
B.E.: It’s been a while since you were here, a couple years?
F.K.: No, I think just a year.
B.E.: Just a year? Oh ok, you were here last year but it’s been a while since I’ve seen you.
F.K.: Central Park, I did Summerstage.
F.K.: In the rain.
B.E.: Yeah, right, well that’s always the risk in the summer. So let’s just start with the most immediate news. What happened at the your club, the New African Shrine? I understand the government closed it last week.
F.K.: Yes, last week, Tuesday. But it’s opened doors, it opened again yesterday. So I mean I think they were just giving us excuses because they don’t want people to hear the music. The reasons why they locked the place were ridiculous because it did not concern the Shrine. Saying we are to be blamed for the traders outside. They can’t expect us to leave our place to tell the traders not to sell outside. Now there are about three or four other event centers on that same street. If they say the parking is our fault what about the other event centers? We even have men every night we play to control the traffic. We don’t play until eight, nine in the night when office hours are closed. So I think they are just giving excuses why they wanted to close the place.
B.E.: Those were the reasons they gave? Vendors and parking.
F.K.: Yes, and noise. Saying we are making too much noise. Now, the noise wasn’t coming from the Shrine. It was coming from the traders who used to blast their CD players in the streets. I mean, they disturbed us as well, but it’s not our duty to go and tell them to stop playing their music. They are on the federal government road. How can we tell them not to be there? We don’t own the road. So if the government has a problem with them, then the government should tell them to move. Not close us down for us to tell them to move. And then if they want to blame, then they have to blame every event center on that street. Not just the Africa Shrine.
B.E.: So you feel singled out by this. What do you think is behind it?
F.K.: I think it’s just envy, they don’t want my father’s voice to still come out of the Shrine. They don’t want the truth of the afrobeat music. The place is getting very big, it’s getting very international, and already at the closure I’m happy about the response I’m getting worldwide. People are so concerned. People are ready to sign a petition against the government: Don’t close the Shrine. So, I mean, that is really moving for me.
B.E.: That’s good. So the international response makes a difference? I mean, they responded pretty quickly.
F.K.: Very, very quickly. I think before we could even get our momentum it was already opened. (laughs).
B.E.: They weren’t really up for a fight on this, were they?
F.K.: I mean, the reasons, nobody could understand the reasons. They didn’t give any genuine reasons. The reasons, all the reasons were not our fault.
B.E.: In terms of why the government would not want your message and your father’s message to be disseminated, one thing that I’ve always really admired about you is that you are completely unafraid to render criticism based on corruption and just basic principles of governance and fairness for the African people that the government is supposed to be protecting. And you don’t really care who it is who’s making the problem, you’ll point it out. You’ve been very critical of African leaders and it’s striking to me because I’m writing a book about Zimbabwe and there are so many artists and intellectuals who make excuses for Mugabe because of his revolutionary credentials and there’s this hesitancy to say anything bad about him no matter what he does. You, like your father, have never felt constrained by that sort of attitude. You call it like it is. Isn’t that right?
F.K.: A thief is a thief. People in Nigeria, for instance, some of the state governors of Nigeria are doing their best. So I ask them, “Are they still stealing?” They say, “Yes, but every government steals.” So I give them this: an ordinary man, citizen, steals $100 on the streets. He’ll be lynched, he’ll be flogged nearly to death, he’ll be arrested, he’ll be jailed, he’ll be treated like an outcast for stealing $100! These people are stealing hundreds of millions of dollars! And you say they are trying. Now, a thief is a thief as far as I’m concerned. Even if they provide some of the things they should, which is their duty to provide because they said they’d provide these things if they were elected. They’re not doing us a favor. And if they can’t serve the people then they should not want to be elected. Now, since you want to be elected, then you are like the house help. You say you want to clean the country? You want to sweep the floor and all that? You offered to do it, nobody asked you. So if you volunteer yourself to do it, then you have to be ready for whatever comes your way. And don’t give us excuses, don’t give me any excuse. Don’t run for office, in that case. I wouldn’t want to be president. I already see the problems. How am I going to make a-hundred-and-fifty-million people happy? So I would not ever go in that direction. Now, if you go there, then you’d better make a-hundred-and-fifty-million people happy. Simple.
B.E.: At least try.
F.K.: At least try very, very, very hard. And we must know you are trying. And don’t steal, don’t be corrupt!
B.E.: That’s pretty clear.
F.K.: I mean, even if somebody like Mugabe did something in his days, it’s not an excuse for him to starve his people today. Nobody has an excuse. Mbeki and everybody give an excuse during the elections, saying it’s an African problem. How can you say you are copying Western style of government and then you are now saying the Western style of government is an African problem? And Africans have to find their own African way to rule this Western style of government. But you still dress in your coat and tie as leaders. I mean, it’s double standards.
B.E.: Very fishy. I quite agree. You’ve seen a lot, you’ve lived through a lot. Have you seen any improvement in terms of governance in Nigeria, even at local levels? Do you see anything that gives you hope?
F.K.: No. I see a more sophisticated way of corruption. Because most of them are younger, they are more enlightened. And they’re smarter. So the corruption is more sophisticated. Now they will build schools, but they will not pay the teachers well. The people are still very poor. So, they will do one thing, and make so much noise about it. But that’s not the issue. And everybody focuses on that. “Oh but, he did this.” But he has not faced the problem. The government has not actually faced the problem. So we are just going around and around in circles. I was thirteen when my father was talking about this problem: no light, no water, bad rules, no healthcare. I’m forty-six, my son is now thirteen now. And it’s the same problem all over again, but a more sophisticated level because these people are now smarter, they are educated, they are not like the military or the last civilian governments. And this is like a merger of the military governments and the civilian governments—together. They are working together to form this democratic era that we face now.
B.E.: That’s pretty depressing. But on that note, let’s switch to music. You worked on your latest album, Day by Day, for some years. What was your overall objective with this album?
F.K.: To just play a very good album. Something I can sit back to in two years, three years and say, “Wow, I enjoyed doing that work.” Something to make people very happy, saying, “Wow, he has a new, nice direction. We like where you are going to this time.” Cool. Subtle. Everything is in it.
B.E.: It’s got a really unique sound. It’s varied. I admire that. I want to ask you about a couple of songs, maybe if you could just give our listeners a little introduction to the song before you play it. Let’s start with the opening song, “Oyimbo”.
F.K.: “Oyimbo.” Don’t kill Africa. That’s just saying that it’s the Western world is part and parcel of the downfall of Africa and they should not exempt themselves from it. They know the African leaders are corrupt! They encouraged the African leaders to bank in these Western countries. So, I’m just saying they have killed Africa. And what’s my business with English? Because people complain. When an African man doesn’t understand a very big English word, everybody says, “Oh, you don’t know that English word!” So I’m like, “Hey, what’s my business?” What’s my business with English even, in that case? They are the greedy ones, they are selfish, they bank Africa’s money, and you expect me to learn the language, and be smart, and be a great guy because I learned the language? No. What’s my business with English? So I just defend the average man and woman.
B.E.: How about the title song, “Day by Day”?
F.K.: “Day by Day” is just… when I look globally, everyone wants peace, the majority of people pray for peace. They wake up, many people go to nine-to-five jobs, and all they do is pray for a good day at work, pray for peace. So we work, and we pray for peace to reign. I give examples of, “Ah look at our father’s suffering in this certain area, or this shooting in Lagos, for instance.” But our mothers, many of our mothers cannot afford a good meal. But we still strive, the average person still strives despite the corruption, despite the bad governments, despite all the world problems, despite the war in Iraq, etc. We still work very hard, and we pray for peace to reign. So day by day by day by day. We are going to work at this everyday, everyday for the rest of our lives.
B.E.: Yeah, right. That’s nice. So even when you don’t see progress, you don’t stop.
B.E.: You still have to dream.
B.E.: Good, beautiful. And how about “Demo Crazy”? That’s a kicking song, amazing brass work on that song.
F.K.: (laughs) Thank you. That’s just really emphasizing on my father’s teacher-don’t-teach-me-nonsense ways, his demo-crazy demonstration of craziness. There was a time when I was very vocal and they were saying I’ve flipped, gone crazy. So I’m saying, “No, it’s not me that is crazy.” It is the nation who is crazy—that we can sit back, the richest African country, and we can just sit back and watch them stealing all the gold, the diamonds, the oil, and do nothing about it. And I want to do something about it. You say I’m crazy? You are the crazy ones! So I try and reverse that attitude, to make people see that. The countries, we are not really in our right frame of minds if we can just sit back and nobody can do anything about the corruption. So it’s democracy that has made us go crazy, not me going crazy.
B.E.: That’s good. On the musical side, I mentioned the brass work. In general the brass on this record seems that you have reached a new level with power and intensity, the sophistication of the arranging. It’s very, very impressive. Do you want to talk about that at all? When you start a new album do you feel that sense of wanting to take it further, just on the musical arranging side?
F.K.: Yes, yes, all the time. I’ve started to work on the next album. This one is done. Now I start to worry. How am I going to beat this last album? Everybody likes it. But the next one has to be better than this. So I put more hours, more effort into composing the next one. We play some of the tunes already. So we rehearse them for a year, then it goes to the studio and work with my producer soon.
B.E.: Excellent. Sticking with the brass concept and the whole sort of jazz connection and the history of afrobeat, you have a song on here where you are sort of probing people on jazz history. It’s “Do You Know,” right?
F.K.: Yes, “Do You Know.” Because I find a lot of the younger generation, especially in Africa, don’t know about people like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gilespie, Charlie Parker. But music came out of these people. The blues. The music came from a slave era, and it was modernized to suit our world today. It was because of these people we have a James Brown, or a Fela, or funk, or Quincy Jones and all these people. If these people did not revolutionize music, if they did not stand, despite all the problems they faced at that time, there would be no me. You see, you have to know Billy Holiday, you have to know this kind of music. It is this history that brings about today. Otherwise, there would be no Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
B.E.: Yeah, everyone stands on the shoulders of those who came before them. It’s just amazing to me… I mean just yesterday night I was at a club here in New York where they’re having what they’re calling an afrobeat festival. There were a lot of bands from different sorts. But just here in New York we have a lot of afrobeat bands. As you well know they’re all over the world. It’s really an incredible recognition of the enormity of what Fela did that so many young musicians who never really experienced it live, who never were aware of it when he was alive, are turning to this and they find it so relevant, so compelling and they dedicate themselves and their whole careers to it. In fact, the brass section for one of those bands, Antibalas, was on TV last night, playing with Paul Simon and the Roots. It’s an amazing legacy.
F.K.: I’m not surprised because even growing up as a young boy, I felt his music was very unique. I felt it was the best as a teenager. I mean, I listened to so many funk artists and music, pop. But my father’s was always so different. I think it was because it was very truthful and it was really down to earth. So if it’s catching on, and it’s still catching on right now through a generation that wants to find its path, I’m not surprised at all. Now if you are in the commercial world, and you want to trip and all that, ok, you might not find the relevance. But if you want to be real and you want to face your life generally, you cannot avoid listening to or wanting to be a part of that afrobeat world. And then don’t forget all the great hip hop producers all listened greatly, and, from what I can gather, that’s where hip hop came out of. And Miles, even Miles to Fela. Many great people. James Brown, if you listen to many of his musicians they all, everyone was listening to Fela!
F.K.: So his music already played a very great influence in the American scene, but was never given credit at that time because people would just listen but nobody praised him at that time. In the ’70s, the press or the media at that time, that “Fela! Fela!” You see, he gave me inspiration. So I was really even shocked to know that Miles Davis listened to Fela because it was Miles Davis that brought about Fela in the first place.
B.E.: That’s right, he was really impressed by Miles when he went to school in the UK. Yeah, sure.
F.K.: So, I mean, he freaked when he heard Miles. And now Miles in his later years was now listening to Fela
B.E.: That is beautiful.
F.K.: So, I mean, that’s great music.
B.E.: Yeah, fabulous. You said that when you make a new album you feel this challenge to surpass what you’ve done before, and that’s kind of interesting in this context because I think a lot of these groups are content to just basically recreate the afrobeat sound, you know? And that’s very exciting for American audiences, but I think you feel the need not to just be a museum and to be recreating the past, but to be moving the music forward and to evolve it, but at the same time not lose the thing that makes it afrobeat. Is that something that you think about when you are making the record?
F.K.: Yes. I think I’ve already even overcome that. It’s now every time a new melody or a beat comes to me, it’s like being pregnant and delivering a baby, ‘cause it always drains me, and I always know that it’s something like a gift. It’s a gift from probably– it has to be a gift from life or the creator who has given me their blessing to be able to produce this kind of unique sound and be able to forge ahead in this direction. Because I know where I’m going, I know what I want to do. I’m very unsatisfied when I don’t meet the demands of my expectations, which I know have to be very high all the time. So I have to work very hard. I try and do twelve hours every day of practice, and out of the hours, the music comes. So I started teaching myself how to play the trumpet. They say, “Oh, you’ll never play the trumpet! It’s the most difficult instrument. You don’t even have a teacher!” I said, “I’ll find my way. I’ll try and I will play this trumpet, if it takes me twenty years to play it.” I said I would teach myself the piano, I want that organ sound. It’s missing. And I did it. I can develop here now, from this album I can move again to another stage.
B.E.: So, you’re playing keyboard on this album?
B.E.: Let me ask you about a couple more songs. How about “You Better Ask Yourself”?
F.K.: Yes, that is really just elaborating and emphasizing on the problem. We have the gold, the diamonds. We have to ask ourselves, “Richest continent on the world, why do we have the poorest people?” If you want to find your life, if you want to find your path properly, you have to ask yourself these questions. If you just want to live blindly, you’ll be lost. When you are lost, your children will be lost. Everything will be lost. So we need to ask these questions. And, when you ask yourself these questions, the answer will come. We have to face these questions, so ask yourself.
B.E.: I want to ask you about the song that I can’t get enough of. “Tension Grip Africa,” that is just a killer song.
F.K.: That is one of my sister’s favorites. That was one of the songs I wrote immediately after the album Fight to Win, when I went back. So it was the first song I wrote after the building of the Shrine, which changed the direction I was going in. And when I started it, everyone was like, “Where are you coming from now?” You know? It was (sings) “Rah-ra-ra-ra”. Nobody could understand what I was doing now, so everyone was so critical about it, but I felt already – my sister grew up with the afrobeat, so she loved the music, saying, “Wow, this is great!” But many people were very skeptical. Now they are not, but at the beginning everyone was, “What’s he doing? He’s changing the music. Why is he changing?” Everybody was very unwilling, cause they wanted to stick by the rules of afro beat. “Why is he doing this? Why? What’s he doing? He’s changing the afro beat.” Y’know? But I knew eventually people would get it. Even if it took ten years for them to understand where I was coming from. That was the first sign that I knew I was changing from the inside. It was something I had no control of even, I just knew I was changing, and this music was saying this, that melody and everything. And I knew it was a complete new direction I was moving in. And the beginning was the beginning of a century. And it brought so much pleasure inside, it drained me so much. But I couldn’t really at that time express what I was feeling. Only musically could I express my sound.
B.E.: So, that was some years ago. Do you feel that your audience in Lagos has really come along with you now?
F.K.: Yes, definitely.
B.E.: They’ve expanded their concept of what afrobeat is?
F.K.: Definitely. Now it’s always a different audience, because don’t forget we are in the heart of the afrobeat and everybody comes and goes. People have to go to work, another generation comes, another generation goes. Now we are playing to eighteen and twenty-five year olds, lots of young people. Next year they’ll have to go to university, or leave the country. Another set will come who are hearing from their senior brothers, “Oh I went to the Shrine.” “Can I follow you?” “No, you are too young.” Their time will come, hopefully before I die they’ll come. And so it’s revolving all the time, it’s moving all the time. So, I see that the audience is getting very big, young, strong.
B.E.: That’s great to hear. The Shrine, I think you told me, can get about two-thousand people in there?
F.K.: Yeah, two-, three-thousand easily. Very, very big.
B.E.: Wow. And we talked the last time about the rise of all these hip hop rappers, this whole sort of music that’s being pushed more by the industry. But it sounds like, even without help from the government, without help from the industry, afrobeat is not going away, is it? It’s growing, it’s getting bigger in Nigeria, right?
F.K.: Yes! It will never go away because it is real. It’s real, it’s not based on commercialism. It’s real. And you cannot avoid the problems we face. It’s right in our faces. It has always been there. And even most of the hip hop boys of today are trying to be very much like my father. They try and be a bit direct, but not in a very subtle way. If you understand the language, you will know they are trying to be a bit critical of the government or the environment. And so you can’t run away from the problems of today, and you cannot run away from afrobeat. Afrobeat is the basis of Nigerian music especially. My father at that time just changed everything! He brought everything to the twentieth century music. He sophisticated music. Anything that was traditional, he made it sophisticated. It was unique, it was everything. All the spices were there. Jazz. Highlife. Everything was in the music, so everybody had to listen to Fela. The whole world was listening to Fela in their backyards. Lots of people outside maybe did not say it, but they were listening to Fela.
B.E.: And I’ll bet even a lot of the guys who are in the government, who were stealing, as you say. They loved it too, right?
F.K.: That’s right. The old Shrine, before Fela died, was right by the barracks. So all the military officers were coming to watch him. They all loved him, even the song they hated so much, “Zombie,” they all loved it. They would say, “Oh I love that song ‘Zombie.’ Fela is abusing me. But I like the rhythm very much.” They all loved his music.
B.E.: That’s very interesting to me. It must create a fascinating conflict in their own minds to have this incredibly powerful music that’s making them face the very wrong-headedness of their own corruption.
F.K.: Which is what I would tell you… I would go to the basis of life. It is because of the bad education and the kind of system of education we have, and not enough home training, that we have so much corruption in the world. If there is a recession in the world today it is because people are corrupt, it is because we have no morals, we have lost our etiquette, we have lost the virtues of life. Nobody really wants to be bad, but along the way we just end up being bad. And we have no control over being bad. We don’t want to smoke, for instance, but you can’t stop smoking, you don’t want to drink, but you can’t stop drinking. Now, because we have not been taught properly from when we were kids to have self control and will power over these vices and bad things, we grow up and we end up in a bad way. We end up being corrupt, we end up stealing. But nobody, nobody truly wants to be like that. So when you search your consciences, you will know nobody truly wants to be bad or have bad publicity, but we just end up like that. So when you understand all this, you can understand afrobeat, you can understand what you are talking about. So when Fela’s music is right in their face, and they have to confront it, they like it. It’s not Fela they hated. I believe a psychiatrist will tell you they hated their own ways, not Fela.
B.E.: That’s interesting, because they must realize it’s talking to them, that they are part of this system.
F.K.: So they take their anger out on him and they come to hate him. But it’s not really him because, even all the police they will tell you, “Oh, we love Fela.” They would tell you they love him. So they take their anger out on him because he’s putting it right in their face. So it’s more of a psychological thing.
B.E.: Yeah, I follow that. That’s interesting. But it seems like it’s so much part of the culture. As you say, it is the basis of modern Nigerian music. At some point you have to hope that that consciousness might break through and people will start to live by that ideal. Or govern, more to the point, by that kind of ideal. I know you say you haven’t seen it happen yet.
F.K.: It will eventually. Maybe not in our lifetime, but it’s a phase the world will have to go through. The world has been through many phases. The recession is a phase. I mean, if there is a recession it is because the world is so corrupt, the bankers were so corrupt, GM motor’s directors, everybody was corrupt. If they were not so corrupt, we would not be in a world recession today. Why the director is living big, he has a private jet, a yacht, has girlfriends all over the place, spending our money as he likes. He’s coming so large, and the workers are not paid very well. It’s part of the corruption. It’s not really an African problem, it’s a world problem at the end of the day.
B.E.: You end this CD on a somewhat hopeful note with “Let’s Make History.” Talk about that song.
F.K.: Yes, it’s trying to tell the younger generation, I think the line is they have to think about how to make history. How do we make history? They can’t go through the path of their fathers anymore. They should make history. They should be the ones who have to change the world today. They have the energy. It’s their time. So let’s make history.
B.E.: Let’s hope they do.
F.K.: They will. I have a lot of confidence in the future. They have no choice. (laughs)
B.E.: The world can’t keep going this way. At a certain point you hit the ground.
F.K.: The only way is up, unless you want to start digging your own grave now.
B.E.: Let me just quickly ask you about the band. Any changes in the band? How big a band have you brought this time?
F.K.: Same. Same band.
B.E.: And how many players have you got?
F.K.: Fourteen plus me.
B.E.: I know a lot of our listeners will hear you as you complete this tour, but I want to ask you, if someone makes the trip and comes to Lagos to see you at the Shrine, what’s going to be different about that experience than if they see you at a festival?
F.K.: They’ll be at home.
B.E.: You’ll be at home, and they will too?
F.K.: Yes, I’ll make them feel at home. They won’t want to leave. They’ll experience the real thing. Now it’s like I’m taking the real thing around the world, but at the Shrine they will feel not just the music but the environment. It’s a unique feeling. Everyone who has been to the Shrine has said, “Wow.” It’s an experience they cherish so much.
B.E.: And a lot of people who see your shows do later come to Lagos and show up at the Shrine, don’t they?
F.K.: Yeah, we’ve seen quite a few of them.
B.E.: You said it’s got an international feel about it?
F.K.: Yes. A band came from Australia early on this year, they said they wanted to pay homage to the Shrine. They’d seen me in Australia about three years ago and they had to come to the Shrine. They play afrobeat now. And a lot of people are passing through there now, it’s like a Mecca now.
B.E.: That must be a very good feeling, because you started this as a continuation, but now it’s really become a place of the world. It’s an international place.
F.K.: It was my dream. I knew it would become like that. I always knew my father’s music would be great. I knew it was doing great. So I’m not worried. I believe if you live on the path of righteousness you have no problems in this world. And when godly things guide you, you’ll be protected by godly things. If you do godly things, you’ll always be successful. So I’ve never been worried. And when the government closed the Shrine, I wasn’t worried. I said, “They are just giving the world more time to put pressure on the government.” I’m kind of sad that they opened it so quickly. I wanted them to see the might of my father’s popularity around the world. I wanted them to see the might of the concern that people have against corruption today. So they opened it too soon for me to show them that, “Hey! You made the biggest mistake of your life. Do you know how many people know about this shrine? This music has been going on for fifty years now, and you think you can just walk into a place, close it, open it when you like? You can’t do that. That doesn’t happen today. That shouldn’t happen today in a country like Nigeria where you say you are practicing democracy and you are liberal, and you pretend to the world you are all these things. No, you can’t.” It’s a fight Fela started many years ago when most of them were kids like me. And now they are in power and they believe they can just abuse power. No. They will have the Shrine, they’ll have me, and they’ll have the whole world standing in their way. Even people like Stevie Wonder will be signing the petition! He was a friend of Fela. There are so many great people still alive today who will be signing the petition, saying, “Open the Shrine. Do you know what that place means? Do you know what that music did to everybody around the world? Do you know how many people are affected by that music?” Incredible.
B.E.: They have no stomach for that, eh? They opened it right back.
F.K.: They opened it. So we have to let them know they must never close it. It is like an institution.
B.E.: Do they do this regularly?
F.K.: Yes. I mean they are always raiding. But this was the first time they just closed the place. I mean, I was shocked.
B.E.: How many nights a week is there music at the Shrine?
F.K.: I used to play three nights. Two nights were free, and then one night for very cheap just to run the expenses. We played Tuesdays free, Thursday free, and then Sundays we charged roughly 500 nira. I think that’s about $2 or so. Very cheap.
B.E.: Wow, very cheap. It must be hard to keep things going. Do you bring other bands on other nights?
F.K.: Yeah, some bands come. People can rent the place.
B.E.: Are there any other afrobeat acts that you are finding interesting on the scene there these days?
F.K.: In Nigeria?
F.K.: Oh yeah, there are quite a few. I mean, I would not say… To impress me would be very hard. It would hard to impress me, like Miles Davis or my father or great people like that. But the fact that they are playing it already is impressive, you understand? So I’m happy that there are many bands playing afrobeat, I’m happy that word is getting around. So that is impressive. I like what they are doing, I have nothing against it but to impress me musically per se like that, you will have to be like a Miles Davis. Don’t forget, I’m playing the music as well.
B.E.: You’re still waiting for that experience?
F.K.: I doubt I’ll ever see that in my lifetime. Maybe my son would impress me.
B.E.: Yeah, I remember seeing him on stage. How is he doing?
F.K.: He’s in school now. I don’t want him to lose his school life because of music. He can always come back to music. I think it’s very important for him to have a very good education. So people will not say he was a dropout. Many musicians have that problem. I even have that problem. Always a drop out, you’ll never be successful. So the educated people use that as a barrier to put you down. So I don’t want him to face that. So he goes to his lessons, he plays a lot of piano. He’s ok.
B.E.: That’s great. Well, thanks so much Femi! It’s really great to talk to you.
F.K.: You’re welcome.
B.E.: I really appreciate it.
- DJ Vico
- Jackson Heights, N.Y, United States
- Naci en Cali,Colombia,ciudad salsera por excelencia,considerada como "Capital Mundial de la Salsa". Desde niño conoci los ritmos afro-caribeños de la mano de la Sonora Matancera los cuales fueron mis inicios salseros. Muy joven salgo del pais hacia Europa y encuentro que los ritmos latinos habian llegado y comenzaban a pegar muy fuerte.España,Francia e Italia estaban alborotados por el sabor y el ritmo afro latino. En esta misma epoca tube la oportunidad de viajar a Africa y conocer mucho mas de los inicios de la salsa al escuchar los tambores Bata de las manos de los africanos. A mi regreso a Cali reafirmo mi gusto por la salsa compartiendo y aprendiendo de grandes maestros y coleccionistas caleños y asistiendo a salsotecas tradicionales como La Barola, La Ponceña, La Mulenze y por supuesto La Taberna Latina de Gary Dominguez. Sigo despues con mis viajes por las antillas:Cuba, Puerto Rico, Republica Dominicana y alli sigo absorbiendo mas ese sabor salsero que ya inundaba estas tierras. Decido radicarme en New York, donde me he encontrado a grandes figuras de la salsa que han decidido vivir aca y mostrar el sabor de la salsa desde la Capital del Mundo.