FEMI KUTI, The Fire Starter …by Dapo Tuburna

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“Today, the 16th day of June, we celebrate Femi Kuti and as a mentor and father to my music, I wrote this little piece.” – Dapo Tuburna

If you’ve ever built a fire, then you know that the natural tendency of fire is to go out; if you want to keep a fire hot, then you need to feed it and you need to protect it. Not everyone in your life will help you do that when it comes to your passion; there are 2 kinds of people:

* Fire-lighters, who will help you keep your fire of passion that burns within you.
* Fire-fighters, who will water down on the fire of passion that burns within you.

So many times, I’ve been to the shrine to watch Femi Kuti and his band, “Positive Force,” perform, and all I always say to myself is, “I might not be able to have this kind of music/band in my life now, ‘cos I don’t have a Fela,” but something in my mind always said, “you can start,” but I didn’t know how, besides if I start now, when do I want to achieve this? This was a bitter truth that kept crossing my mind. I tried every possible way to have a talk with Femi Kuti, but it was never successful; I had given up on that dream, until months later when Femi Kuti decided to surprise me one of the Thursdays at the shrine by talking to me. He was jamming “No Place For My Dream,” and yeah, I could hear him talk exactly to my spirit and soul; you say there’s no place for my dreams, but great men have had that same dream – great men like Fela, Femi Kuti, Bob Marley, e.t.c.

My eyes opened up and another part of me was born.

I challenged myself and decided to take the risk; after 9 months, my band, “The Officers,” was complete – we had a couple of shows and test runs, met MH Visuals, a director, and I discussed with him about shooting a honorary documentary for Femi Kuti – he was like, “so far it’s Femi Kuti, let’s do this.” I was soo excited but I maintained my calm; we sorted everything out.

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Yes! this was the right time to meet Femi Kuti, yes! He won’t turn me down, not now that I have done all he said to me!” All this going through my mind.

Everything went well, the documentary came out excellent; Femi Kuti loved it – he said to me on Twitter, “this reminds me of myself when I was growing up.” I didn’t expect that at all, I pushed further, went to his office to see him on that note – he had already travelled; the manager gave me an appointment in 2 months. Out of his tight schedule during the tour, he had a short break in Nigeria, I finally met him. Wow! Very handsome man, I didn’t know what to say, so I excused myself for some minutes.

Twitter Screenshot

I came back and he asked me, “young man, what can I do for you?

I replied, “I’m Dapo Tuburna, I came here on the note of ‘this reminds me of myself while I was growing up,’” we chatted for a while and after I summoned a little courage, I told him “I want to always open for you on Sundays before you come on stage.”

He said. “Okay,” and he left!

That was all I could remember.

I was happily mad for some minutes; I met with the manager and the next year I started, it wasn’t easy, because it was a bigger task and I was ready for it. After me, other bands started coming and till today, that has been a major platform for Afrobeats music.

Long Live Femi Kuti!!!

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