With our president reportedly griping about “shithole” countries and life-long US residents being ripped from their wife and kids and deported, it’s hard to think of a more timely message: “One People One World” is the title song off of Femi Kuti’s new album, out next month from Brooklyn’s own Knitting Factory Records.
Is the upbeat, anthemic Afrobeat tune partly a response to Trumpism? Femi’s statement about it should clear up any doubt: “When you look at what’s going on in Africa, Europe and America, it’s important to keep the dream of unity alive.”
The song urges “racism has no place, give hatred no space” and pleads “let’s settle our differences, it’s best to live in peace.” The video, released today, was filmed in the Shrine that Femi opened outside of Lagos, Nigeria, in 2000 to replace his father’s legendary homebase, which finally turned down after Fela’s death in 1997. The Shrine’s Sunday parties now attract people from, yes, all over the world.
The album, Femi’s tenth, features musicians from his band Positive Force and some piano and bass from Femi’s son Omorinmade Anikulapo-Kuti, who is currently attending Trinity, the same music school in London where Fela honed his sax skills in the late ’50s. One People One World is out Feb. 23 and can be pre-ordered here.