- Audio CD (6 Oct. 2008)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Tot Ou Tard
- ASIN: B0015MS7HU
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,244 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Seun Kuti & Fela's Egypt 80
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The first full album from Fela Kuti's youngest son features seven dynamic performances from one of the worlds great bands. Egypt 80 was Felas last group and Seun has been a member of it for most of his life. Now Seun Kuti moves to centre stage - and on listening to Many Things you can hear that he is more than ready to inherit one of the worlds most vibrant and influential outfits. The perfect melding of guitars, horns, rhythm section, voices, Highlife, Funk, Yoruba and upfront politics. Seun is the force to take Afrobeat forward. 1. Think Africa 2. Dont Give That Shit To Me 3. Many Things 4. Fire Dance 5. Mosquito Song 6. Na Oil 7. African Problems Also available on Vinyl LP 'Many Things' 8345105882 £7.99
The youngest son of the infamous Nigerian Afrobeat innovator Fela Kuti, Seun seems to have taken his time before stepping into the spotlight left empty after the demise of his father in 1997. Seun's brother Femi was the first to do so, and if this confident debut by his sibling is anything to go by, he'll be struggling to keep his place there. As a performer, Seun is far more of a chip off the old block than Femi, and with a gruffer and more street-wise sounding vocal delivery. And with his dad's old band Egypt 80 behind him, he's a force to be reckoned with.
Featuring as they do Seun's keyboards, guitars, a punchy horn section trading licks with various soloists, interlocking layers of percussion and a female call-and-response chorus, this 18-piece incarnation of Egypt 80 do sound somewhat like they did on Fela's later recordings. Even so, the songs are much shorter (between five and nine minutes as opposed to Fela's quarter-hour epics) and producer Martin Messonier has given them a crisper, more modern sound. There's also a smattering of effects such as making Seun's voice jump from speaker to speaker and the sparing use of treated vocals and atmospheric samples that seem to nod at the singer's role models in contemporary hip hop.
The muscular, upbeat Don't Give That Shit To Me features a cool sax solo - Seun or bandleader Baba Ani - and seems to echo one of Fela's sentiments, as expressed on his 1984 song You Gimme Shit I Give You Shit. With three minutes of instrumental intro, the title track wallows in a slinky, sensual rhythm, but the funky, stumbling Fire Dance hots things up with a strong party vibe. Na Oil's huge bass line helps make it another highlight, with African Problems the only relatively duff track, mainly because of a slightly awkward vocal.
Seun drifts between English, Yoruba and Pidgin English, so for non-Nigerians, the fact that such lyrics are only half-understood has the dual benefit of adding to their mystique and shifting the focus onto the grooves, of which there are many. --Jon Lusk
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Here's my take on some of the songs. Many Things is an Afrobeat classic, if you can't get to like this song, you may give up on the genre altogether. Don't Give That **** to Me is the closest thing to Fela Kuti's music to have been recorded since his death. Fire Dance is a party song with some studio programming touches. Mosquito Song has a fantastic imitation of a mosquito's buzzing with the trumpet. African Problems is a song with a decidedly Caribbean feel. It's also the lyrical high point of the album. While Seun's Pidgin is pretty heavy (some of the lyrics are partly intelligible) in this last song his message comes out loud and clear.
The musical tradition of Fela Kuti is continued by his two sons. This is Classic Afrobeat with a contemporary touch, if you're into Afrobeat this is a must buy. The CD comes with a booklet with lyrics.
Julio Punch (Webmaster of The Shrine: The Unofficial Website for Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti and Afrobeat Music)
The CD like the concert is exciting, driven, interesting, witty, amusing, ascerbic and cracks along at a hell of a pace. I am somone who buys a lot of CDs of all types, probably around 20 each month, but songs from this CD still hold the top 3 positions on the Most Played playlist on my i-pod (which has nearly 30.000 tunes on it) with another two tracks from this album lower down in that top 25. That doesn't include the times I play the CD itself in my car - I'll risk the speeding ticket. Buy this album. It's got the liveliest, sexiest, dirtiest brass sound you are ever likely to hear. I'm buying up Fela and Femi's stuff in the meanwhile, but I can't wait for the next Seun one. It was my favourite CD of 2008, and I can't think of one that I've loved as much in 2009. See him live if you can.
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