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CD Review: Seun Kuti + Fela's Egypt 80

Seun Kuti + Fela's Egypt 80

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The Deal: The son of an African music legend jumps out of his father's shadow.

The Good: Let's get the requisite handshake out of the way first. Meet Seun, the son of Nigerian, um, African music legend Fela Kuti. His father, an astute social critic of his time, essentially invented the genre of Afrobeat, a weave of funk and jazz that's distinctively African. Seun Kuti has inherited plenty of original musical chops and can rattle stages with his own beats. The young Kuti began his career with his father's band Egypt 80 and has led the band as lead vocalist and saxophonist since the elder's death in 1997. The band is still as explosive armed with horns, keys, percussion, guitars and vocals. Noteworthy songs, including "Many Things," "Na Oil," and the irresistible "Fire Dance," erupt into rhythmic trances with complex interplay. The funk is never more than a beat away. Good Afrobeat is stacked with political ideas and social commentary, and on his debut Seun Kuti doesn't flinch from speaking his own mind.

The Bad: There's nothing bad about Afrobeat done right. And this is done right.

The Verdict: A fine debut.

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