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WEDNESDAY

Everything Fela Anikulapo-Kuti did was raw, brash, and bold. The Nigerian singer, saxophonist, and bandleader pioneered Afro-Beat, a polyrhythmic style melding African highlife guitar, James Brown-style funk, and jazzy horn solos. He harshly criticized his nation’s military rulers and their multinational corporate partners onstage and off. He smoked pot incessantly, had 27 wives, and frequently performed in only his underwear. Fela’s son, 37-year-old singer-saxophonist Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, owes much to his dad, but he’s also trying to chart his own course. After performing in his father’s 30- to 70-member ensembles for 16 years, Femi left to start his own 14-piece group called the Positive Force. He also chose not to smoke, married only one woman, and wears traditional Nigerian clothing onstage. As interested in the sounds of Michael Jackson, hiphop, and house as in the John Coltrane he heard as a youngster, Femi has streamlined and updated his father’s Afro-Beat creation. Femi’s third CD, Shoki Shoki, speeds up the tempos, shortens the song lengths, and adds slicker production and remixes. Less confrontational than Fela, the younger Kuti has had his biggest African hit with the dance-club ode to sex “Beng Beng Beng.” But Femi does his dad proud with sociopolitical songs like “Blackman Know Yourself” and Shoki Shoki’s visceral opener, “Truth Don Die,” whose frenetic call-and-response structure spotlights hiphop-influenced percussion, fervent female backing vocals, and an orated plea for veracity. Femi performs with DJ Lady Myrrh at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $15. (202) 393-0930. (Steve Kiviat)