Audio

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80's 'A Long Way To The Beginning' LP

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80's third studio album "A Long Way To The Beginning' is out now.


In A Long Way To The Beginning, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 aim to reshape Fela's politically-charged afrobeat for the modern ear. The group's highly-anticipated third studio album, co-produced by Robert Glasper, is a relentless 7-track excursion into horns, drums and call and response. Glasper's keyboard appears on several tracks, while additional collaborations arrive throughout the release from M-1 of Dead Prez ("IMF"), Nigerian songstress Nneka ("Black Woman"), and Ghanaian/NY rapper Blitz the Ambassador ("African Smoke"). The album's combination of classic afrobeat sounds and contemporary social commentary is most apparent on lead single "IMF (International Mother Fucker)," a horn-flanked jab at the International Monetary Fund's intervention on Nigerian economic and oil policies. Watch the video for "IMF" below and scroll down to see the band's upcoming North American tour dates along with our own NYC contest. Grab a copy of A Long Way To The Beginning, available on iTunes now from Knitting Factory Records.

>>>Buy Seun Kuti & Egypt 80's 'A Long Way To The Beginning' LP via iTunes

>>>Stream 'A Long Way To The Beginning' via NPR

>>>Enter to win tickets to Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 Live in NYC w/ Rich Medina

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 2014 Tour Dates:

06/10/14 New York, NY Highline Ballroom

06/11/14 Washington DC Howard Theatre

06/13/14 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Festival

06/14/14 Black Mountain, NC Pisgah

06/17/14 San Diego, CA World Beat Center

06/19/14 San Francisco, CA SF Jazz Center

06/20/14 Boonville, CA Sierra Nevada World Fest

06/21/14 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst

06/22/14 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl

06/28/14 Somerset, UK Glastonbury Festival

07/11/14 Quebec City, QC Festival d’ete International De Quebec

07/12/14 Toronto, ON Phoenix

07/13/14 Detroit, MI Concert of Colors

07/14/14 Chicago, IL Concord

07/15/14 Iowa City, IA Englert

07/16/14 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center

07/20/14 Vancouver, BC Vancouver Folk

07/21/14 Seattle, WA Neumos

07/22/14 Portland, OR Star Theatre

07/23/14 Boise, ID Knitting Factory

07/24/14 Missoula, MT Top Hat

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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