Watch Footage Of Seun Kuti Performing Live In Indiana

Watch video footage from Seun Kuti performing live at Bluebird Nightclub in Bloomington, Indiana, via Funk It Blog.

Afrobeat prince Seun Kuti is currently on a worldwide tour in support of his most recent LP A Long Way to the Beginning, a relentless seven-track excursion into horns, drums and call-and-response co-produced by Robert Glasper. Playing at Indiana's Bluebird Nightclub this past Friday, the singer/saxophonist performed the gloriously frenetic songs off the record. It's one thing to hear Seun's socially conscious and intensely exciting afrobeat; it's another entirely to watch it, to see the 31-year-old speak his mind while never losing sight of his duties as a performer. While the music-as-message influence of his father is clear, Seun seems intent on sharing his own politics and views. As "Black Woman" and the darkly comedic "IMF (International Motherfucker)" show, Kuti is almost painfully in touch with today's world. Speaking with Okayafrica back in June, Seun discussed trying to communicate his beliefs to the Nigerian people:

"It’s kind of sad in a way, but it’s also kind of inspiring. There’s a battle and I’m always inspired when there’s a battle. Maybe I wouldn’t be inspired if it was easy and I could just walk into the radio station and everyone’s happy to play my music all day in Nigeria. Then maybe I wouldn’t have to work so hard. The fact that we want to do it and we don’t care about the obstacles in our way, for me, that’s an inspiring thing."

As passionate as Seun is about creating change through music, he's equally interested in putting on a simply great show. Watch footage from his Bloomington set below via the Funk It Blog. After the show, Seun also spoke with Funk It to discuss his father's influence, what afrobeat means to him, and the playful nickname he has for Glasper.

>>>Find Out More Via Funk It Blog

Pt. 1/6 "IMF (International Mother Fuckers)"

Pt. 2/6 Seun speaks

Pt. 3/6 "Black Woman"

Pt. 4/6 "Black Woman" (continued)

Pt. 5/6 "Higher Consciousness" (second half), "Kalakuta Boy"

Pt. 6/6 "Kalakuta Boy" (continued)


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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