If being the son of African musical legend Fela is a burden, you’d never know it from meeting Seun Kuti. He carries his inheritance with modesty and style. When Fela died in 1997, Seun assumed leadership of his father’s band, Egypt 80. He was only 14. It was an audacious move, but it worked. He kept the flame burning. Now with the release of his second album, “From Africa with Fury: Rise,” Seun continues Fela’s musical and political legacy, while reigniting Afrobeat with a jolt of energy and precision.
We first met Seun in Lagos while filming the pilot episode of SOUND TRACKS, our music series for PBS. We were impressed then. But the performances we filmed on his recent U.S. tour show that Seun and the band are more potent and dynamic than ever.
Don't miss other Quick Hits starring Dengue Fever, Charles Bradley & Sharon Jones, Helene Grimaud, Jovanotti, KT Tunstall, Meklit Hadero, Ozomatli, and Seu Jorge. For more info visit Sound Tracks's site.
“Rise” is the title song on Seun Kuti and Egypt 80’s new album. In the Fela tradition of Afrobeat, it’s an angry song – protesting against corrupt leaders and corporations exploiting Africa’s resources. It’s also a big band tour de force, with echoes of James Brown and Miles Davis. Above all, it’s a call to rise against injustice.
This is Seun’s incendiary anthem, but there’s an underlying sadness here, too, as if he knows all too well the suffering his people have endured. The constant refrain: We want a better life but “our stomachs still empty.”
Seun Kuti’s website
“Black President” our SOUND TRACKS story about Fela and Seun Kuti