When I heard that Franck Biyong would be in town playing a tribute concert to the “Black President”, Fela Kuti himself I was quite over the moon. Once more the music gods have chosen to bless Nairobi. Orchestre Lipombe Jazz under the leadership of Cameroonian Franck Biyong, will be taking us down memory lane, bringing our beloved Fela Kuti back to life, if only for a night.
Franck Biyong is the originator of the Afrolectric sound that is greatly inspired by Fela Kuti’s own Afrobeat. He is a singer, composer, band leader, record producer and not to mention an amazing electric and bass guitar player. He isn’t new to Nairobi as he has performed here a couple of times and was also the first music director of Coke Studio Africa.
The first Fela Kuti cover I heard by Franck Biyong is of ITT (International Thief Thief) and to be sure, he does Fela’s timeless classic justice. ITT talks about corruption in Africa by its leaders in cahoots with foreigners, most often times their former colonial masters. ITT is a live recording done in vintage Paris club. It manages to capture all the vibrancy, passion, fiery energy and excitement that was present during this tribute to the Africa man original. You can listen to it on bandcamp.