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.
As a tribute to his father, Seun Kuti opens his concert with one of Fela’s signature songs, “Zombie,” a scathing indictment of the Nigerian army for blindly following repressive orders. This is Afrobeat at its most provocative written by a man who repeatedly challenged the military regime and paid the price in countless beatings and arrests. The older members of Egypt 80 played this dangerous, defiant song with Fela himself.
The lyrics are a mixture of English and Nigerian dialect: “Zombie no go go, unless you tell him to go…Zombie no go think, unless you tell him to think.” The song is featured in the musical “Fela!” which is now touring the U.S. after its Broadway and London runs.
Seun Kuti’s website
“Black President” our SOUND TRACKS story about Fela and Seun Kuti
Fela! The Tony Award-winning musical