Seun was invited to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) last week to discuss the issues facing African music (and finance and politics) today.
Seun Kuti is the youngest son of the Fela Kuti, the Father of Afrobeat. Seun first guested on stage with his father and the Egypt 80 big band, aged eight at the Harlem Apollo. Seun inherited Egypt 80 at the age of 14 when Fela died, and has since become his musical and political successor.
Seun is often asked to whether he’s whether he’s a revolutionary first, or a musician second. He used to answer that he’s a musician first, but one who plays revolutionary music.
Seun responded to this statement with a revelation: “I’ve swapped roles now – revolutionary first, musician second. I was thinking about thisa few months ago. If someone said I had to stop saiying exactly what I say in my songs but I was allowed to play music, I would actually say no. That means that my message is more important than then the music.”
“If I didn’t have the band behind me I would take the mic and just speak the lyrics of the songs poems”, he added.
African Problems – Seun Kuti
“I must try teach the people a new mentality
Make dem appreciate Africa’s superiority
Make dem know say no be so things suppose to be
Na leader dey put us for this mediocrity
Take away our peace and liberty
Leave us to leave it in endless pain and poverty
We no understand this their government policy
We dey sell us into second slavery”
Quick fire FAB Q’s
FAB track of all time?
Seun: Wow, this is tough oh! I have so many favourite tracks. OK, Let me go back. ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor.
FAB Album of all time?
Seun Kuti: Always something by an African musician!
FAB book of all time?
Seun Kuti: The State of Africa by Martin Meredith
FAB movie of all time?
Seun Kuti: Not yet out yet, ‘Fela – The Movie’.
FAB dream collaboration?
Seun Kuti: Me, my Dad and Bob Marley. That would be great!
FAB city to play?
Seun Kuti: Every city in the world. I can’t pick one. OK, then London.
FAB African dish?
Seun Kuti: Rice and stew
FAB thing about being African?
Seun Kuti: Black skin.
FAB thing about being Seun Kuti?
Seun Kuti:: FAB skin.