It was nights of Afrobeats music at its best. For four days running, the son of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the legendary founder of Afrobeat, Seun Anikulapo-Kuti, and his Egypt 80 band relived old memories and brought back nostalgia to the appreciative mix of expatriates and Nigerians with his rich repertoire of Afrobeats music that has made him a global star.
At the Alliance Francaise hosted concert, Seun Kuti not only gave the best of his music, he also performed new songs from his upcoming album that he intended to take on his global tour.
The show, which held from April 28 – 30 (public show) and a private one on May 1, from 7 pm, saw concert attendees and followers of Afrobeat trooped into the venue before time to watch the best of Seun Kuti and The Egypt 80’s first concert at the Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi, Lagos, a move Seun said is similar to coming back home.
Seun stated that he started his professional music carrier at the famed French Cultural Center as he was given support and residency when he had nowhere to go when his father died and African Shrine was closed. He noted that it was prudent that before he starts his global tour, which was on hold at the instance of the Coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown, he has to rekindle old memories at the new French cultural center, Alliance Francaise / Mike Adenuga Center.
The show, he enthused is to test his songs before he goes on tour as he called on the audience to be critical of his performances so that he learns and revises the songs before the tour. If that’s going to ever happen, it’s another conversation in its entirety.
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He started his performance as he is known to, by playing one of his father’s songs, a practice he said is to show his respect to the renowned Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
Following the political and social echoes of his father by calling those elected into power to account for their actions, he performed ‘Run’, a song affirming Karma to evildoers, as no matter how fast they run, they cannot run from the judgment that will eventually come to them. He mentioned names of those that have put their hands inside the proverbial filthy lucre, telling them to prepare for their comeuppance.
There was a slight dig at law enforcement agencies going after smokers as like the proverbial maxim, ‘practice what you preach’, he satirized the Police, politicians campaigning against smokers with his ‘Bad Man Lighter’ song. In the excerpt, “Anywhere dem say no smoking, l know dem joking”, he said the Police, politicians, and others are sycophants telling people not to do what they do secretly.
His leftist ideology is always there as he enjoins people to be socially conscious. He wants the government to be called to order, and workers should side with the people, not the aggressors. This was before his ‘Love and Revolution’ energetic performance, one of the new songs he performed at the concert.
Copying from Che Guevara who said ‘Revolution is the greatest form of love’, Love and Revolution is his love song about revolution being the greatest form of love as those that embark on it do so for the upliftment of the society. Romantic love for a single person, he stated is selfish as a society cannot benefit from it, which was why the song was about a woman who wants revolution as her love potion. He added that it is only through a revolution that society’s welfare can be met.
Before bringing the concert to an end, Seun Kuti used the opportunity to thank his fans and followers, talked about the various trending topics in society, and called on parents to train their children on societal happenings.
The collaboration with Seun Kuti, according to Alliance Francaise was borne out of the continuous need to promote the artistic nature of Afrobeat, and also promote cultural events.
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The Alliance Française of Lagos is a Nigerian not-for-profit institution dedicated to the promotion of the French language, Francophone cultures, and the promotion of cultural diversity. Based in Ikoyi and Ikeja, the Alliance Française of Lagos offers French classes for all kinds of audiences, as well as professional translation services for private and corporate needs. It also offers a variety of cultural events such as exhibitions, screenings, and concerts all year long.