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With the mighty new From Africa With Fury: Rise, Seun Anikulapo Kuti heads up Egypt 80, the extraordinary combo first fronted by his renowned father. The album follows Kuti’s critically praised debut, 2008’s Many Things, which was unanimously hailed for continuing Fela’s musical legacy. From Africa With Fury: Rise sees Kuti finding his own idiosyncratic voice as songwriter, singer, and band leader, its songs and sonic approach marked by provocative edge and mature self-assurance.
Produced by Brian Eno, John Reynolds, and Kuti, with additional production by Godwin Logie, and mixed by John Reynolds and Tim Oliver, the album captures Seun and Egypt 80’s extraordinary power, fraught with the scorching rhythms and kinetic funk energy that has earned the band – as ever, under the leadership of alto saxophonist Lekan Animashaun – worldwide acclaim as one of today’s most incendiary live acts. With Kuti’s booming vocal stylings at the forefront, songs like “African Soldiers” and “Mr. Big Thief” are fueled by call-and-response hooks, breakneck tempos, and combative, topical lyricism which firmly sets the classic Egypt 80 sound in the modern era.
Seun Kuti is determined to speak to the new generation of young Africans born after his father’s glory days. If he learned but one lesson from Fela, it is that that no one has greater impact on hearts and mind than the true artist. As such, the powerhouse protest music found on From Africa With Fury: Rise serves as a kind of musical antidote to the corporate pop that he feels is polluting Africa’s airwaves, distracting its citizens from the things that truly matter.
“Music has great impact on people’s feelings,” Kuti says. “That’s what music should be. Pop music today is all about me, me, me. Nobody is singing about we. But nothing can change if we don’t look out for our brothers and sisters.