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Afrobeat Legend, Femi Kuti, Will Perform at the Africa Cup of Nations Opening Ceremony

The Nigerian musician will be singing the English version of the tournament's official anthem.

Soccer fans are counting down the remaining hours till the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) is set to officially kick off tomorrow in Egypt. Four-time Grammy nominated Afrobeats artist, Femi Kuti, is one of three international artists who'll be performing the tournament's "Metgameen" (translates to "we are together") anthem as part of the opening ceremony.


If you didn't know that there's an official anthem for this year's Afcon tournament, you'd be forgiven. Let's just say the song itself hasn't exactly caught on as well as the tournament's organizers would have hoped. However, they're hoping to change that.

Listen to the Afcon anthem below:

OFFICIAL :AFCON 2019 CELEBRATION SONG www.youtube.com

Kuti, who will be performing the English version of the anthem, will be joined by the Ivorian singer, Dobet Gnahoré and Egyptian singer, Hakim, who will be performing the French and Arabic versions of the song respectively.

The legendary Nigerian musician also performed at the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa back in 2010. Many are hoping that Kuti's presence will manage to somewhat boost the Nigerian team's morale as they prepare for their first match against Burundi which will take place on Saturday.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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