Nothing To Show For It - Femi Kuti

from the album No Place For My Dream (2013)

Femi Kuti is a rare breed of musician who has found a global audience writing and performing protest songs against corruption, deception, and inequality.  Following in the footsteps of his father - Fela Kuti - this Nigerian's songs shine an important light on the current circumstance plaguing much of Africa, earning him my most profound respect.

Unlike most protest singers, Femi Kuti is also an incredibly gifted performer and bandleader.  The first time I caught him in concert was in support of his 1998 release Shoki Shoki.  It is one of the most memorable concerts I have ever attended.  His band filled the hall with a complex collection of sounds, beginning with a large contingent of percussionists layering African polyrhythms complimented by a deep bass groove and funky rhythm guitar with sharp keyboard accents.  On top of this was a powerful horn section, led by Femi Kuti on saxophone and vocals, backed by a colorful assortment of background singers frenetically dancing to the pulsing beat.  The result was a hypnotic aura that lifted me and carried above the music until they turned the lights on and sent my home.  What a show!

His new album - No Place For My Dreams - continues the fight for justice with songs like No Work No Job No Money and Politics Na Big Business.  The track I dig most is Nothing To Show For It.  This song dives straight into the rhythm and groove with a organ solo setting the stage for the driving horn section to follow.  Then enter the call and response vocals with a lyric condemning the continued political corruption of those who promise change.

This song is a powerhouse track.  It never lets up.  Then it surprisingly ends after three and a half minutes leaving you wanting more.  This is the perfect way to lead off the album.

If you do not know Femi Kuti, please check him out.  You will not be disappointed.

Click Here to listen to Nothing To Show For It.

Click Here to watch him perform the mega-hit Beng Beng Beng at the 2000 World Music Awards.  It is phenomenal.