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Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

The hereditary prince of afrobeat

The whole world opened their eyes to african music through the legendary afrobeat-pioneer Fela Kuti and his self-made music style afrobeat, that lives on and is continually evolving today. It’s a complex and rhythmic mixture of jazz, funk and psychedelic rock, based around West-African melodies and rhythm.

Seun Kuti is the youngest son of Fela, and is today leading one of his father’s most important bands, Egypt 80. Many of his children has become musicians, but Seun and his brother Femi are two of his best-known descendants of the late Nigerian artist and activist. Here Femi has gone his own ways with his music, Seun has been in Egypt 80 since he was only 9 years old, and is still building and expanding on the music of his father. Hen Fela died in 1997, Seun was only 14 years old, but he stepped up as the band leader, vocalist and saxophonist, and has brought on the music, and kept it alive and up to date. Just like his father he is a strong political figure and activist in Nigeria and is voicing a clear message through his music.

Seun has also developed his own expression and take on the music through the years, and in the process, he has been pushing the boundaries for today’s afrobeat, adding in elements from other genres and highlighting different parts of the music. On the last few albums he has worked with world renown and ground-breaking producers like Brian Eno and Robert Glasper, developing the sound and structure of the music further. Seun still thinks Fela is the eternal number one, but is proud to be standing in his shadow, but he has also been proving his ground and shown that he can stand on his own as a musician.

There are still quite a few of the original members in Egypt 80, and they still play a lot of the original classics together with the new material when they play live. It is a living and breathing mixture of improvisation and composition, and it’s impossible to stand still from the very first tone they play. The fact that its autumn outside, no one will remember when they start playing.

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