Cultural Life: Femi Kuti, musician

Charlotte Cripps@charcripps
Friday 12 November 2010 01:00

Music: I always listen to the great old jazz artists such as John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. They are my constant companions and inspiration as their music drives me to practice more, to try to perfect my art. I also listen to bands like Vampire Weekend, who are listening to Afrobeat and reinterpreting it for new audiences.

Theatre: Well it has to be the 'Fela!' musical. I saw it in New York. I thought it was brilliant and was amazed at how close to Fela's life it was. My sister Yeni came with me and was so moved by the whole production that she shed a tear at the end of the musical. It is a strange sensation to see your father played on a stage, but the production captures the essence of Fela, the man and also his music.

Books: I have just read the autobiography of Miles Davis. It's a warts and all description of an amazing life of an amazing man. I have also read '1959: the Year Everything Changed' by Fred Kaplan. This focuses on his view that 1959 saw a cultural shift, as it was the year Davis's 'Kind of Blue' was released, 'Naked Lunch' by William Burroughs was published and the Guggenheim in New York opened. I love the history, it is only by looking at history that we can learn from the past and see where we are going.

Television: I got completely hooked on the World Cup in June and watched all the games. I was lucky enough to be at the opening concert. I never thought I would see the day when the World Cup came to Africa. Finally, Africa was being treated like any other continent. It was just a shame that Nigeria performed so badly, even worse than England. I rarely watch TV because I'm busy performing around the world.

Femi Kuti's new album 'Africa for Africa' is out now. His UK tour starts on 27 November (

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