It can’t be easy to follow in the footsteps of any famous father, let alone to extend the legacy of one as potent as the late great Nigerian Afrobeat innovator, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
But with his debut release, Seun Kuti stands up to the task, and immortalizes Fela’s fight, both musically and as an outspoken cultural activist.
Like his more-famous half-brother Femi, he’s also saxophonist-singer who carries the Afrobeat style invented by their father in the Sixties, into the new millennium.
Seun’s the youngest son and only 25, but he’s been performing on stage since he was nine. He began by opening shows for his father, alongside his legendary band Egypt 80; and he continues to play with this pioneering group, both ‘live’ and on his debut “Many Things”.
Most of the members have remained since Fela’s time, and as a musical family who’ve played together for over 20 years, Egypt 80 are tight!
This fiery funk orchestra encapsulate cohesion and syncopated precision, and have endless enthusiasm.
Except for ‘Fire Dance’ [a firm favourite with its funky-dub mix], it appears that Sean has used every other track on this CD as an opportunity to vent his views. With a gravel-voice and outspoken, hard-hitting lyrics, he expresses outrage against injustice; and particularly points fingers at the corruption and carelessness of African leaders.
This is unadulterated, in-your-face protest music, and remaining true to the Kuti trademark, ‘Many Things” is also an inspiring assault of infectious, energetic, dance grooves.
These songs of incitation and jubilation make Seun a worthy heir of Fela Kuti’s musical militancy, and this he affirms in his statement:
“I want to make Afrobeat for my generation. Instead of “get up and fight” it’s going to be “get up and think”. My generation’s not thinking.”