Taste of Femi Kuti’s positive vibes at sheraton Lagos
It’s not every time that you find Femi Kuti performing live in Nigeria; he’s always touring the world. So, when Sheraton Lagos Hotel partnered Chocolate City Group to stage a special live concert with Femi Kuti in Lagos, it became a must-attend gig for Afrobeat enthusiasts, who saw it as opportunity to watch the Prince of Afrobeat outside the New African Shrine.
Indeed, it was an unforgettable evening, as the critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and four-time Grammy Award nominee, alongside the Positive Force, treated the audience to the best of their repertoire. Particularly, it was an opportunity to sample songs from their recent work, One People, One World.
The evening started with a special cocktail and red carpet session that saw guests network, while waiting for action to commence on stage. The long wait eventually came to an end, as Afrobeat sounds rented the air, a sign that the band is set to roll.
Thought a night for Femi Kuti, is was Etuk Ubong, who set the tone for the evening with an impressive performance that put guests in the mood to groove. Then came Nonso Bassey, who treated the audience to the best of his music, before paving the way for Ruby Gyang to mount the elevated stage before the ‘big masquerade’ of the night took over.
Femi’s emergence was dramatic. The hand had started playing their intro, when his session men dramatically made their way to the stage. Then came the dancers, who set their waists rolling to herald Femi. As soon as he stepped on the stage clutching his saxophone, guests cheered in excitement; Afrobeat filled the air.
In what seems like a deliberate effort to first put guests in the mood, Femi opened with Truth Don Die. He then switched to Africa for Africa, before performing Wonder Wonder. By the time he tuned to his monster hit Bang, Bang, the atmosphere became fully charged, with most guests on their feet, swinging to the rhythm.
Femi then brought down the tempo with One People, One World, the title track for his latest work. He also thrilled the audience with other tracks in their latest album, before taking them back memory lane with Sorry, Sorry, a song considered by many as Femi’s best work so far. In a tribute to his late father and music legend, Femi closed with Fela’s monster hit, Water No get Enemy, a track that pulled everyone to the dance floor, including Femi’s former wife Funke, who was obviously elevated watching her son Made display his dexterity on the bass guitar.
“Every performance is very important; I take every performance like my last performance no matter how small or how big, no matter who is there. I don’t discriminate; I take every performance with all seriousness. This is very serious for me; I might approach it in a different way, but this concert is very serious to me. I have to always be professional. Even at rehearsals at the Shrine on Thursdays that is free, I have to be professional about it; this is the way I brought myself up,” Femi said in a chat with The Guardian.
Being the first son of late music legend, Femi had all the opportunity to inherit his father’s Egypt 80 Band, having played with the band in the early stage of his music career, but the Bang, Bang crooner was less interested in living under Fela’s shadow.
“I knew a long time ago that I didn’t want to be my father or live my father’s life for him. Then, a puzzle came to my head, a child that wants to inherit his father’s legacy or inheritance, what if you die before him? So, the sooner you start your own journey in your life, the better for you; if your father passes before you, then no wahala and if you passed before your father, no wahala too because people will still recognise that you set out to live your life.
“I’m a very practical person; I wasn’t praying for my father to die. What if I died before my father? So, that thought was like a kind of negative, selfish thought in my head. So, where people were like, ‘hey, you are going to inherit your father’s band, so you must stay with the band.’ I’m like, ‘what if I die before him?’ So, I didn’t even like that thought at all. So, I always set up my own way of life, so, this is why I left Egypt 80,” he said.
Though the Egypt 80 now plays with Seun his younger brother, Femi still find time to perform with the ban both home and abroad. “I even led the band at a time. In fact, I played with Seun in Denmark and he played with me in New York. I mean, we play at the Shrine; we’ve played about two or three Felabrations together,” he noted.
The exclusive gig saw music lovers, Afrobeat enthusiasts and members of the Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty programs – Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), wowed with a pulsating evening curated by the hotel in partnership with media and entertainment company Chocolate City Group.
To attend the concert, Marriott International’s loyalty program members redeemed their points for a highly elevated front row viewing experience and exclusive VIP access to a once in a lifetime experience, which included a meet and greet with the Afrobeat maestro, complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a one-night stay in the Sheraton Club Room at the Sheraton Lagos Hotel. Members also enjoyed a delightful breakfast, engaging conversations and a photo opportunity with the living legend.
Over the years, Marriott International has been focused on stepping up its experiences game, creating exclusive Moments that help connect with members through their passions, be it culinary, music or sport. From Masterclasses with renowned chefs, mixologists, DJs and photographers to behind the scenes access to concerts, to experiences around your favorite sport or an immersive experience of the local cuisine or culture, there is a lot to explore and discover what makes travel more enriching.
“As a city landmark and a hotspot for the local community as well as the international traveler to Nigeria, we are delighted to have brought this concert to the hotel to create a truly transformative evening for our guests and loyalty program members, through the reverberating rhythm of Afrobeat and an experience that ties them back to the destination,” said Barry Curran General Manager Sheraton Lagos Hotel.
“I’m proud of our partners and my team, who helped to deliver this; most especially the stellar performance by Femi Kuti and the budding star, his son, Made. It was a night that will not be forgotten in a very long time. One People One World is an exceptional Album, and we thank Sheraton, Starwood and the entire Marriott Group for supporting the Event,” said Aibee Abidoye, General Manager Chocolate City Group.
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc., makes it easy for guests to explore, relax and enjoy the possibilities of travel at nearly 450 hotels in over 70 countries and territories around the world. Sheraton continues to enhance the brand through innovative guest experience, differentiating design, multi-channel marketing and a sharp focus on service. Sheraton is proud to participate in the industry’s award-winning loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest®. Members can now link accounts with Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® at members.marriott.com for instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer.
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