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Seun Kuti: Keeping his father Fela's legacy going strong

Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti Photo Credit: Handout

Taking over the family business is never an easy thing to do, but it's especially hard when your father is the most famous person in the history of that business.

Seun Kuti faced exactly that challenge at the age of 14 when his father, Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, passed away and Seun took over as leader of his dad's band, Egypt 80.

Nearly 15 years later, Seun has developed an impressive reputation in his own right.

Your new album is called "From Africa With Fury: Rise." Do you hope your music inspires more revolutions like we've seen in Egypt?
Of course. My music is to inspire Africans to want a better life for themselves. I believe with every fiber of my body that music and art can inspire people to a better future.

Many of your lyrics portray Africa as hopeless. Do you think that will ever change?
Hopelessness and strife and pain and suffering are what bring change. A negative times a negative is a positive. That's what brings revolution. The pain of hunger and strife is why we have democracy today.

Was it hard to follow in your father's footsteps?
I was playing with his band for six years before my father died. He's the king of Afrobeat music. I'm very lucky I had the opportunity to watch him extensively and adapt [his work] to my music.

Do you worry about being harassed by the government for your views like your father was?
I'm more concerned about being harassed by the media. These days, they don't send the police to burn your house down - they tell the media to kill your reputation and destroy your music and art and ideology.

What did you think of the Broadway show 'Fela!'?
The message was accurate, and it portrayed him in a fair light. It was dramatized because it was Broadway. That was 95 percent Fela - 100 percent is too much for Broadway.


If you go: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 are playing at Prospect Park Bandshell on Friday at 7 p.m. Prospect Park West and Ninth St., Brooklyn, 718-855-7882. FREE

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