Afrobeat artiste Seun Kuti is a maverick in the African music industry as he defies any pigeonhole and continues to make music that cuts across various age demographics and palates. Yesterday, the singer hosted friends, fans and members of the media to the listening of his new album Black Times at the Fela Museum in Lagos. Welcoming guests to the event, Seun said, “Black Times is a true reflection of my political and social beliefs; it is also dear to my heart because for the first time ever I wanted to own my masters, so I personally invested my funds in it. That gave me the opportunity to say the things I wanted to say.”
The album which is the 35-year-old singer, bandleader and musician’s 5th body of work was released under Strut Records and features a selected line-up of stars including the iconic guitarist Carlos Santana, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and vocalist Nai Palm of future-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote.
“More than ever I am convinced of the mission and purpose of our music,” said Kuti. “Here I’m giving honour to my parents and to every revolutionary who has made a difference, many of them from before I was born.”
The ideas for Black Times were born as Seun Kuti and his band; Egypt 80 travelled the world, but the writing which began in 2016 happened at home in Lagos. “I wrote this album from a place of calm and love, I was thinking, ‘What if Africa had a philosopher king who was also a musician, who loved Alkebulan” – the ancient Kemetic name for the Motherland – “with all his heart? What sort of album would he make? What would he tell his people today?’”
“Too many African rulers do not have the country’s best interests at heart,” Seun continues. Too many people in Africa and the West have sunk or are sinking into complacency: “Black Times is an album for anybody who believes in change and understands the duty we have to rise up and come together. The system says we’re different. But the struggle makes us one.”
Black Times is already getting rave reviews from the global music community, and one of its leading tracks Struggle Sounds was recently featured on DC Entertainment and Warner Bos Television’s Black Lightning distributed by The CW Network and Netflix.
Black Times is available for purchase in Nigeria courtesy of 5ive Music Group.
About Seun Kuti
The youngest son of the Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Seun Kuti is a global music figure who is famous for leading his father’s Egypt 80 band and is as incensed by injustice and inspired by greatness as his father ever was.
The energetic act, whose shows include some of Fela originals, is as adrenalized as the Egypt 80 band led by Fela ever were. The band’s long-plays, funky horns, kicking beats, stirring chants and call-and-response hooks are lent contemporary resonance by new sonic influences and the charismatic presence of its famous band-leader. Seun Kuti who first appeared onstage with his father aged eight (at the Harlem Apollo) has over the years wowed festivals including Glastonbury and Roskilde and venues such as Brighton’s Dome, sending critics into raptures.
Longtime Afrobeat addict Brian Eno – who co-produced Seun’s 2010 breakthrough album From Africa With Fury: Rise – summed Seun’s art up when he declared that Seun Kuti and his band are “making some of the wildest, livest music on the planet.”