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.
Seun kicked off the show with a faithful rendition of Fela's afrobeat classic "Zombie."
Kola Onasanya kept the beat while astride a giant conga drum.
The beautifully adorned Iyabo Adeniran and Yetunde George kept the crowd entranced with their dancing and backup vocals.
Quick Hits shooter Singeli Agnew captured all the action from her perch on stage right.
Trumpet player Emannuel Kunnuji doubled as the band's emcee throughout the night.
The Egypt 80's Alade Oluwagbemiga and David Obanyedo held sway in the rhythm section.
Seun emulated his father's saxophone playing from an early age. Here he is flanked by Fela's shekere player Okon Iyamba.
By the end of the show Seun was drenched in sweat from flaunting some serious dance moves.
To close the night Seun showed off a back tattoo stating "Fela Lives" while taking the defiant arms-up stance that was iconized by his father.
The San Francisco crowd ate up every minute of the Egypt 80's performance and by the night's end they were stomping their feet for more.
Our slide show features Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80 on stage at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. The photos were taken by Quick Hits reporter Mirissa Neff. By taking the helm of his late father Fela Kuti's band at age 14, Seun also took on an enormous set of shoes to fill. But his performance at the Regency showcased a scion truly coming into his own. Much of the set drew from Seun's album "From Africa with Fury: Rise," recently released on Knitting Factory Records.
Segment presented by Sound Tracks
All photos by Mirissa Neff, a reporter for Sound Tracks and Quick Hits, as well as an art director, photographer, and professional dj. To see more of her work go to mirissaneff.com.