News

Afrobeat's '2 Kings' Femi & Seun Kuti Speak On Their Concert & Dynasty

Afrobeat dynasty Femi and Seun Kuti speak on performing together at the '2Kings' concert in Lagos, Nigeria.


Tonight afrobeat dynasty Femi and Seun Kuti will hit the stage at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos for the first time ever. With less than 24 hours to go before showtime, we asked the Kuti brothers for the inside scoop. And quite miraculously, they wrote back exactly at the same moment.

Okayafrica: What made you decide to play together now? How come you two hadn't ever played together previously?

Femi Kuti: We have played together before in Europe. And at the Shrine. But first time outside the Shrine in Nigeria. Seun asked me if I would do a show outside the Shrine with him. I said no problem.

Seun Kuti: Well I guess things just happen at the right time. I felt the time was ripe also for a concert like this.

Okayafrica: Will you perform any of your father's songs? If so, which ones?

Femi: Most likely we will perform "Water No Get Enemy."

Seun: I will as I always do on my set and probably do one with my brother after the show. We will probably do a classic like "Water" or something.

Okayafrica: What's your biggest similarity with your brother?

Femi: Lol I don't know maybe loving women LOL LOL

Seun: Our passion for our people.

Okayafrica: What's your biggest difference?

Femi: DIFFERENCE wow wouldn't want to say lol he might be offended lol.

Seun: Our age.

Okayafrica: What's your favorite song by your brother?

Femi: The song called many things.

Seun: "Inside Religion."

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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