Seun Kuti and Egypt 80
From Africa with Fury: Rise
Having a famous father and living in their shadow is never easy. Just ask Jakob Dylan or Damian Marley. This brings us onto Seun, the son of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer and famed political activist Fela Kuti. To cap it all Seun isn’t even the only one of his illustrious pa’s offspring to become a musician. How does Kuti Jr fare? Pretty darn well, as it turns out.
From the opening moment of muscular opening track ‘African Soldier’ things are whacked up to fifth gear. It boasts horn stabs so sharp they could swipe your head clean off and sets the tone for the rest of this colourful record. By working with his dad’s old outfit, the Egypt 80, and employing the production talents of one Brian Eno, Kuti has managed to create a sound that is bolder and more adventurous than 2008’s promising Many Things.
The real weapon here is the Egypt 80, whom sound as professional and dynamic now as when they were lead by Fela.
The album’s seven songs, clocking in at a respectable 46 minutes, are a tasty collage of those ingredients that make Afrobeat so delicious; the tight rhythms, guitars set to ‘funk’ and yes, those horns. On top of these are Kuti’s astute lyrics, unloading his fury on the likes of African ‘strongmen’ and diamond mining companies. While not quite the rousing shouts for revolution that run through his dad’s ace tunes, Kuti nonetheless fills each song with a message. If ice cream vans and tannoy systems the world over played this kind of music every day, the world would be a happier place.