Monday, June 27, 2011


It's mighty tempting to veer off from a mention of Seun Anikkulapo Kuti and end up in the Fela Kuti abyss. Fela Kuti, as you probably know, is like the man when it comes to afrobeat, the Chuck Berry or James Brown level icon of the genre. His output, both in quality and quantity, is an unbelievable gift left in the form of many, many, extended, funky and exotic jams. I will spare you further digression, and just direct you to the Fela links below for that detour.

Seun Kuti is his youngest son. When big daddy Kuti died in '97 (AIDS), Seun took over, fronting his father's band, Egypt 80, at the age of 14. His latest album, From Africa With Fury: Rise, came with additional geek twists, other than just his bloodline. Some of the tracks are produced by Brian Eno, bringing Eno more or less full circle, from his 80s David Byrne collaborations and Talking Heads productions, back to his fascination with African rhythmic textures. Now he's dipping in the real thing, and you know he's gotta be stoked. Another twist is that the cover of the album is by Lemi Ghariokwu, who did many of Fela's album covers. Where Fela's were more like drawings with paint, the cover of Seun Kuti's latest album was done as a static cover, and in the latest medium mini-craze, as an animated gif cover. (Why exactly they're needed is beyond me.) You can see it here.

Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80, Live in Dakar 2005 (Pretty amazing, huh?)

Much like his father's music, Semi Kuti's stuff, along with that of his brother Femi Kuti, is predominantly long jams, heavy on horns, percussion, choruses, and funky grooves. One thing can't hurt: many of the members of the current Egypt 80 had also played with Fela. There I go again. "Fela, Fela, Fela,.." (Jan Brady wouldn't last a minute around here.) Anyway, here's an assortment.

Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 - Rise mp3 at Soul Bounce
Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 - You Can Run mp3 (via Soundcloud) at Afrobeat Blog Note: At Soundcloud, click on tiny "Download" (with downward arrow), just above the streaming bar.
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Live, 2008 Nobel Peace Prize concert at YouTube
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - You Better Run (on Later Live...Jools Holland) at YouTube
Interview with Seun Anikulapo at Afrobeat Blog
Sena Kuti at Wikipedia
Album art related:
Lemi Ghariokwu - Animated album cover for Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 at Album Art Exchange
Lemi Ghariokwu - Video interview and gallery images at Art's Own Kind
Lemi Gharioku - Profile at Kongoi Productions
Previous Fela post:
Hey There Fela - Six Fela Kuti cuts and a vintage video (All links still work!)
More Fela:
Fela Kuti - Army Arrangment video at YouTube
Fela Kuti - Six cuts (via Mediafire) at Passion of the Weiss

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