Album review

Seun Kuti + Egypt 80 

A Long Way to the Beginning

added: 26 Apr 2014 // release date: 26 Mar 2014 // label: KFR
reviewer: Andy Snipper

Seun Kuti + Egypt 80 - A Long Way to the Beginning - Printable version
Seun Kuti has a great lineage to live up to and working with his father’s last band is kind of a seal of approval for his music.

Egypt 80 epitomised the power and fruitiness of Afrobeat- pounding rhythms and horns to die for and, fronted by Seun’s sax playing, this is a fine example of Fela Kuti’s oeuvre.
I reference Fela Kuti here but there is no slight intended to Seun – he is making his career on the basis of his father’s legacy and stands or falls by that comparison.

Seun Kuti’s music is full of anger and the opening verse of ‘I.M.F.’ gives the clue to his angst –

“U Bring Pain
U Bring Tears
U Bring Suffering
To My People
International Mother Fucker”

A song to the International Monetary Fund it may be but he sums up the feelings of most of Black Africa to the interference and colonialisation of the West but behind the anger and the chants there is some brilliant playing.

It was said of Fela that he could make the dead dance to his music and this even had me shaking it and throwing shapes.
Every number here is full of great rhythms and no little humour and the playing is sublime – the horns are jazz to the roof and little elements like the rhythm guitar give so much texture and contrast to the pounding percussion.

On a softer track like ‘Higher Consciousness’ the bass line is fluid and sinuous but those horns – Oh my! Then you have the dancers and backing singers on ‘Ohun Aiye’ with a real sense of the Nigerian heartland. ‘African Smoke’ is utterly modern, harsh and angry with a strong rap from Blitz The Ambassador.

One of those albums that gets better with repeated listening but also one that you can dip in an out of.
Seun Kuti is beginning to be a lot more than just his father’s legacy – this is fine music in iots own right.

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4 stars

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