The French President had arrived at the Shrine from Abuja where he held talks with President Muhammadu Buhari about terrorism, the economy and other issues affecting the country and African continent.
When he arrived at the Shrine, Macron quickly switched into a less formal mood, taking off his suit jacket and tie before announcing the launch of the African Cultural Season and having fun at the live show.
Iconic afrobeat star and Fela’s eldest son Femi Kuti thrilled Macron and other guests with a live performance at the Shrine with the support of fellow African music heavyweights Angelique Kidjo and Youssou N’dour.
Beyond praising African culture, Macron was delighted to be back in Nigeria where served as an intern with the French embassy in 2002. During that stint in Nigeria, Macron had visited the Shrine.
“I’m very happy to be here with you tonight,” he said of his return to the “iconic” venue.
“I discovered Nigeria and a lot of my friends are here. I discovered Nigeria and I discovered Lagos and I discovered the shrine.
“This place is an iconic place and it is a place where the best of music is given. I have to say my main memories about this place are friends, proud people, proud of their culture, proud of their art and music. I have a very different view of Africa than a lot of other people in Europe.”
He called on Nigerians and Africans to “build a new common narrative” on the continent and to continue to move forward.
“You have to recognise the bad and negative pages of this history, but you have to move forward,” he said.
When news filtered in that French President Emmanuel Macron would visit Nigeria on Tuesday, one aspect of his visit dominated the headlines.
The French President would be spending some time at the legendary Afrika Shrine in Lagos.
True to expectations, after dispensing with formal Presidential duties with a visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja where he held talks with President Muhammadu Buhari, the French President flew to Lagos.
At the Shrine, music, history, and culture blended together with a presidential touch to ensure a night of fun.
Macron (who swiftly dispensed with his suit and rolled up his sleeves upon arrival), Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and many others were thrilled by the iconic Femi Kuti with other African music heavyweights such as Angelique Kidjo and Youssou N’dour.
As Femi Kuti played a single note on his saxophone for 51 minutes and 35 seconds, his fans held their breath in excitement and disbelief.
This was the second attempt by the Nigerian artist, who took up music from his father, the legendary King of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti.
The first time he did it, he only broke the record set in 1997 by American artist, Kenny G at 45 minutes, 47 seconds but not the one set by Vann Burchfield at 47 minutes, 5.5 seconds in 2000.
The realisation that he had fallen short of the record was heartbreaking for Femi’s fans. He says they convinced him to try again.
On Sunday at the Shrine, where his father Fela electrified music lovers with his hip-shaking and a strangely hypnotic blend of jazz, funk and West African folk rhythms, Femi went over 51 minutes.
Of the feeling, he says, “Very nice, satisfied, you feel complete because it seems like an impossible task…
“I trained on Friday… on Friday I couldn’t go past 30 minutes, I trained again on Saturday, I couldn’t go, I got to 39 minutes and at stopping at 39 minutes I was like ‘wow, it’s impossible.
“When I even tried I burst my lip. And Sunday was just around the corner, I knew my lip would not heal before Sunday so I was already very worried.”
Consequently, he said he informed his team and friends that it was an impossible feat, but they reminded him that he had already promised to take another shot at breaking the record.
They assured him that even if he failed to break it, he would still have their love.
Femi says he learnt the skill known as circular breathing – a technique where players breathe through their nose while pushing out air, from his father who taught it using a straw and water.
In a series of tweets sent from their Twitter account, Guinness World Records said they rested the category several years ago and that they no longer monitor longest wind instruments notes using the circular breathing technique.
Femi reassured his fans, saying his attempt was not to break the record but to enhance creativity.
“They should not be disappointed that the Guinness Book does not recognise the award. It wasn’t… it was never my objective; if it was my objective I would have called them to be there. I didn’t want them to be there,” he said.
He added that the feat was “to show the possibility” especially to young African boys and girls that there is no limit to achieving greatness even at his age.
Femi who says his father had warned him not to allow talent to get to his head because that was not the essence of music, plays at the Shrine every week to a packed house and like his father is also a dedicated activist with a cult following.
“The record came so late because everybody has been anticipating this record for the past three to five years and you can see that we are so happy and we are very very proud of Femi and we will support him to the end,” David Phillip, a resident of Lagos said.
Now that this is done, Femi says he is back to creating music.
Afrobeat Maestro, Femi Kuti, has spoken out on the much publicised paternity test that proved that his two children were not actually his.
the publication had gone viral last week, leaving Nigerians with thoughts running wild.
In an interview with Channels Television’s entertainment correspondent, Femi Kuti explained what led to the test.
The son of late Fela Kuti, however, said that the incident was not a recent one but something that had happened eight years ago.
He, however, did not give the name of the woman involved, as he kept referring to her as his girlfriend.
“They wrote it as if it happened yesterday so that I will feel very sad. Do i look Sad to yo? Even then i was not even sad.
“It happened eight years ago. One of my girlfriends was talking on the phone with one of her lovers and I entered the room took the phone and discovered she was talking to a lover.
“And there was already a rumour in the Shrine that one of my children does not look like me and my sister advised me to address the issue. For security reasons and for the sake of the family, I took all my children for a DNA test and I found out that two were not my children,” he said.
Femi Kuti’s management team, Chocolate City, had earlier released an official statement, addressing the rumours about him carrying out a recent DNA test on his children.
In the statement, the group admitted that it was true but said that it was an excerpt from an interview that Femi Kuti granted some eight years ago.
The group stated that during the interview, Femi spoke on the identity of five of his children and then revealed that two of these 5 children were not his and that he had since making this discovery returned the children.
Nigerian afrobeat musician, Femi Kuti has blamed the leadership of Nigeria for the ills bedeviling the country.
Speaking in reaction to the video of a police officer that was taped while demanding for a bribe, the eldest son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, said “as much as I am very against it, if the leaders of this country look at the problems of this country objectively, the police force will be the kind of police force we desire and we deserve”.
He blamed the leaders, especially after the return to democratic rule in 1999 of treating the problems of the country with laxity.
He looked at other parts of the economy, Kuti said “we look at education, how many police officers can afford? I tell you it’s only the AIG, the top police officers can send his kids to the best schools inis country.
He said it is impossible to eradicate corruption to in the country without paying the police officers well.
Kuti asked about other police officers engaged in soliciting and collecting of bribes saying ‘’what about the rest that do it on a daily basis” adding that “what about the mechanics that keep stealing the parts of your car, what about your house help” he quipped.
He lamented the fact that “to buy drugs in general hospital today, you have to bribe the doctor, the nurse… to get your way, to get treated, to get a bed in general hospital”.
He said the dismissed police officer (Chris Omeleze) will be used as a “scape goat” noting that “he is not the problem” but an “unfortunate part of the problem”.
Kuti further noted that “probably if the police are paid very well, they are not enlightened to know that they are been paid very well, because the corruption is now embedded in our system, it is now in our blood”
Kuti, who just returned from a tour of Europe, also bemoaned the high level of unemployment in the country but was quick to admit that it is fast becoming a global phenomenon.
He said “when you go to Spain there are no jobs, when you go to England people have no jobs, when you to France people…… You see problem was an African problem, poverty was an African problem, unfortunately is a global problem now”.
To unveil the top 12 contestants of the Nigerian Idol music competition, organisers of the show on Saturday, staged an event titled Night Of Love Songs at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
For the first time, the contestants performed together alongside celebrity guests performers Lynxxx, Tiwa Savage and season 2 winner Mercy Chinwo.
The event which was hosted by Ill Rhymz featured food, fun and fanfare.
The talented singers showed off their spectacular vocals and the gathered audience that included celebrities like singer Nneka, Michelle Dede, Lala Akindoju, OC Ukeje, Toke Makinwa and more, alongside the judges of the show, Femi Kuti, Yinka Davies and Jeffrey Daniel.
“We know we have got the best talent we can find,” said Rotimi Pedro, Group Managing Director of the show’s production company Optima Media Group (OMG).
The CEO of Etisalat Nigeria, Steven Evans, who was also effusive about his praise for the show said, “You need to watch. [The contestants] are all hungry to be the third Nigerian Idol…The quality of talent is bigger, brighter and better.”
The performances were the crowning jewel of the evening, starting off with Lynxxx, who, with the help of the live band, seduced the crowd with a knock out live performance. Tiwa Savage sang a touching tribute to late singer and performer Goldie Harvey, before she performed some of her most loved hits.
And then came the most exciting part of the evening: the twelve successful season 3 competitors were unveiled. Singing ‘No One Like You’ by P-Square, the talented group were luminous as they made their stage debut.
That was not all for the evening, as the contestants then formed more intimate groups and sang again. Immaculate Victoria, Abasiakan, Joe Emmal, and Kome sang ‘A Whole New World’, from the Walt Disney animation, ‘Aladdin’.
Then Jay Feel, Danny Angus, Debbie Rise and Amara performed ‘Oyi (I Dey Catch Cold)’ by Flavour. Moses, Efezino, Vicci and Sefeeyat were the last to perform for the evening, singing George Benson’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You’.
The night was brought to an explosive end as Season 2 winner, Mercy Chinwo, brought the house to its feet and started an impromptu party with her infectious vocals.
Now, the contestants have been unveiled and have had their first top 12 performances, which aired on Sunday, 17 February. Who will be the first two contestants Nigeria will choose to evict from the show?
The top prize for this season is worth a superb $100,000, in which the lucky winner will get: 7.5 million naira in cash, a recording contract also worth 7.5 million naira, and a brand new SUV.
Runners-up will not be left out as they will be given prizes to the tune of N10 million.
The 2012 edition of the annual Felabration was held at the African Shrine, an event which grew from a day’s celebration of the icon Fela Anikulapo-Kuti to a week-long of events.
Felabration has over the years been themed ‘Baba 70’, ‘the Black President’, ‘Viva Africa’, ‘Buy Africa’ and the 2012 edition was themed ‘Africa: Centre of the World’; a title of one of the masterpieces of Fela released in 1979 which featured Fela and Roy Ayers, a renowned jazz artiste and it is centered on his heartfelt call to Africans to take their place as the core of the world affairs.
It has also become an international tourist attraction, attracting music lovers all over the world.
The event started Tuesday October 16th and ended on Sunday October 22nd 2012.
Tuface Idibia, Asa, Omawumi, Mavin Crew, YQ, Burna Boy, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti and other African artistes graced the week-long event which took place at the African Shrine, performing and paying respects to the afro-beat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.