Seun Kuti Tours U.S., Issues Debut Album
- Words: Tomas Palermo
When Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti died in 1997, the world was temporarily left without his pioneering Nigerian funk sounds. Luckily, Fela’s oldest son Femi quickly appeared, releasing his strong debut, Fight To Win, in 2001. However, it was obvious that the Kuti scion intended to not only honor his father’s well-established rhythm, but also incorporate Western R&B, hip-hop, and electronic influences. Femi found a new audience, but fans of his father’s organic groove were left wanting more.
Enter another Kuti progeny, youngest son Oluseun “Seun” Anikulapo Kuti, whose self-titled debut reclaims his father’s urgent, horn-drenched art form. The album will be released June 24 on Disorient Records and Kuti will embark on a full North American tour with the all-star Egypt 80 band. His forthcoming album, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, is described as “a ravaging pamphlet against the corruption, ignorance, malady, sadness, pollution, and the many others ills that ravage contemporary Africa.”
Although Seun’s music is the closest yet to his father’s militant sound, he isn’t without his eclectic tastes, with Chuck D, Dr. Dre, and other hip-hop artists among his musical influences. Like his father, he has taken on the mantle of direct action to improve social conditions. Seun recently joined Youssou N'Dour in a major project against malaria, and "Mosquito Song," off the new album, explains how the governments' negligence in teaching the importance of hygiene is responsible for the effects of this plague responsible for more deaths than AIDS.
Seun Kuti will tour with Fela’s long-standing family of musicians in the Egypt 80 orchestra. The band is comprised of back-up singers and dancers, horn and percussion players that add a rich, full sound to accompany Kuti’s arresting vocals. Kuti is on tour throughout the summer.
06/20 Los Angeles, CA: Grand Performances
06/21 Los Angeles, CA: El Rey Theatre
06/22 San Francisco, CA: Stern Grove
06/23 Redway, CA: Mateel Center
06/25 Vancouver, CA: International Jazz Festival
06/27 Victoria, BC: Jazz Festival
06/28 Seattle, WA: The Moore
06/29 Chicago, IL: House of Blues
06/30 Alexandria, VA: Birchmere
07/02 Toronto, ON: Harbourfront
07/03 London, ON: Sunfest
07/04 Detroit, ON: Comercia Festival
07/05 Philadelphia, PA: World Café
07/07 Washington, DC: 9:30 Club
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