Femi Kuti, Nigerian singer and first son of Fela Kuti, late Afrobeat legend, says he fears for young African music artistes over the continent’s insensitivity to music education.
Femi spoke in an interview with Midem Talks while expressing concerns about the African and Nigerian motivation for venturing into music making.
“I fear for young artistes in Africa because many of them go into the profession wrongly. For fame and money and those are wrong reasons for which one should one to play music,” the 56-year-old Afrobeat singer said.
“When these young boys and girls become my age, what would they have to offer the next generation? And the fear is, there’ll always be another generation that will be more daring, more vibrant, and then you fade away.
“I grew up listening to my father, Miles Davis and classical music. I loved dexterity, improvisation, people on stage with musical instruments – not just you and a DJ dancing.”
Femi decried the domineering insensitivity of the continent to music education, a situation which – according to him – has forced talented artists to leave their countries for Europe and America.
“The most important thing on my mind right now is globalisation. Music is at the forefront of spreading messages and it’s important for music and the arts to always be in the forefront addressing societal ills,” Femi said.
“If we don’t have our voices at the forefront suppressing evil, then evil prevails. My goal is to emphasize the importance of solid institutions that young people need to know the importance of music. We don’t have to go to Boston to study music.
“We need to build Institutions in Africa immediately so young people don’t think Music is just for dance, fun, fame, and fortunes. We have to study it properly. If we don’t have these things then we’ve failed.”
“If these institutions are built properly, then Africa would come to understand and think inwards instead of looking up to Europe and America. Other institutions would follow and start to believe and develop fast. This is my biggest dream now.”