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Seun tours the globe with Afrobeat

Posted by By FEMI SALAWU on 2008/08/15 | Views: 1814 |

Seun tours the globe with Afrobeat


Seun Anikulapo-Kuti, son of the late Afrobeat legend, is on a self-imposed mission to actualize his father’s dream of bringing the music genre into global reckoning. His father, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, died when he was planning to embark on a world tour following his international profile as a musician and socio-political activist.

Seun Anikulapo-Kuti, son of the late Afrobeat legend, is on a self-imposed mission to actualize his father’s dream of bringing the music genre into global reckoning. His father, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, died when he was planning to embark on a world tour following his international profile as a musician and socio-political activist.

The younger Anikulapo-Kuti, who inherited the legendary Egypt 80 Band has been on a world tour that has taken him across Europe and North America. He was widely
reported in foreign media to have released his much awaited album entitled: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 to the international market on June 24 under a label called Disorient Records. The song is currently quoted on popular online store, amazon.com at $13.99.

“Afrobeat was about to go global in a big way when Fela died,” he was quoted in an international media, adding “he was about to do a world tour that would have brought the music worldwide, but he died. We have embarked on the tour without him.”
The tour which began on July 14 at Festival Mundial, Tilburg, Holland is expected to last till August 7.

The tour expectedly would feature over 20 performances in several cities, including International Jazz Festival, Vancouver, USA, Jazz Festival, Sunfest, London and Folk Festival – Winnipeg, Canada, Festival Africa Bidon, Bidon, France, Festival Bi Shill, Casstle, U.K among others.
Some of the tracks in the new album include: Many Things, Na Oil, Don't Give That Shit To Me, Fire Dance, Think Afrika, Mosquito Song and African Problems. “The Afrobeat magic is set in motion, while the delirious, unrelenting groove machine carries us away without missing a moment, ” amazon.com said about the album.

One of the tracks in the album, Mosquito Song was written for BBC film: Africa Lives on the Roll Back Malaria concert sponsored by the UN foundation. The song, which featured Manu Dibango and Tony Allen, was performed at a festival in Dakar, which was broadcast around the world.
The characteristic spirit of activism that runs in the family is not lost in the album. Seun Kuti has this to say about: Na Oil, “It’s a parable really, about the importance of human life. It’s about our rulers who only want to get rich. I call them rulers, not leaders, because they do not lead us, they rule us. There’s a big difference. For them their Swiss Bank accounts are more important than our lives. So, we speak to them in the song sarcastically, asking them to respect our lives in Africa.”

Meeting Barack Obama
In one of their trips to the U.S, the Egypt 80 band members only got their visas after Barack Obama intervened. Speaking on the American presidential hopeful, he said, “this is the first real hope for Africa, the first in a long time, in terms of political leadership. We’ll have to judge history by what he does. He owes the black race and I’m sure he understands that because he’s an intelligent guy. He owes Africa, and a lot is expected. Being an African, he knows that Africa needs to be free. He knows what needs to be done. He knows the influences that need to be curbed. We hope for the best.”
The concert, which held in Illinois, Chicago, was recorded to have practically become riotous as hundreds of spectators leapt on stage, much to the distaste of the American security services.

Leading Egypt 80 Band
Under the youthful leadership of Seun Kuti, the Egypt 80 Band has experienced some changes. Afrobeat veteran musician ,Lekan Animasahun, nicknamed Baba Ani, has now relinquished his sax lead to Adedimeji Fagbemi, (stage name Showboy, who also plays the role of MC) as the instrument became too heavy for the seventy-year old. Baba has now taken on the keyboards but remains musical director of the orchestra.

“Yes, although it was not my plan to lead the band,” he declared, “I wasn’t thinking it was going to be me who would keep the band going. It was something all of us had in common, that we wanted to keep going. It was not easy. Nobody was supporting the band. At that moment, I made up my mind and stood up to say I want to keep playing. When we continued it was tough, when we took someone like Fela out of the equation. It was a very hard thing.”

Childhood experience with Fela
Born in 1982, at the age of eight, the young Seun Kuti used to open shows for his dad at the Africa Shrine. “I used to sing every Friday night at the Shrine. There are so many memories. You know I was 14 when he died. I saw him every day,” he recalls. “He was a very integral part of my life, so I don’t know. He was not the kind of dad who was like a dad, he was more like a friend, you know. I understood from a young age that Afrobeat was more than just a genre, it was a movement, you know. So, I decided to leave behind my education in Liverpool to join the movement, and that’s what I did. Now, I fight with the movement. And I know the consequences.”

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