SEUN KUTI & EGYPT 80 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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SEUN KUTI & EGYPT 80

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Although his older half brother Femi has been widely celebrated as the heir to Fela Anikulapo Kuti's mighty throne, 25-year-old Seun actually seems better equipped for the job. Femi softened Afrobeat's hard edges, polishing the arrangements and cutting the jams to radio-friendly size, but Seun keeps the music raw. He looks uncannily like his father--shirtless, lithe muscles rippling on his lean frame, he commands the stage with a frenetic energy--and he sings in gruff voice as deep as his dad's. Soon after Fela's death ten years ago, Seun took over his legendary 22-piece band Egypt 80. Even with the addition of several young members, the group plays with stunning fluidity and can cut loose on extended instrumental passages; Seun himself is a killer saxophonist and as a band leader controls the ebb and flow of the music like an orchestra conductor. Also in the tradition of his father, his original tunes are blatantly political. The local house and soul label Still Music will soon release Seun Kuti & Egypt 80's first single outside of Nigeria, and we should be hearing more from them soon. This is their Chicago debut. Rich Medina spins before the show. a 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-1168. F A

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