Stuart’s To Host Crown Prince Of Afrobeat

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Several times a year, Stuart’s Opera House teams up with Ohio University’s Performing Arts Series, African Studies Program and Arts for Ohio to present performances by outstanding African artists.

Tinariwen, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Baaba Maal, Vieux Farka Toure and Oliver Mtukudze have all graced the stage of the opera house in Nelsonville.

This Thursday, Nigerian musician Seun Kuti, the son of the acclaimed afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, will perform at Stuart's with his late father’s band, Egypt 80.

Seun's music career began at age nine as the saxophonist for Egypt 80's opening act. After Fela’s death in 1997, he took over as the Egypt 80's lead singer when he was just 14 years old.

The majority of Egypt 80’s current lineup were members in the band during Fela’s leadership. Fela is legendary not only for innovating African music by creating afrobeat–a fusion of jazz, funk and soul with Highlife and other African styles–but also for his social activism and outspoken political tirades. 

He and his band were often harassed and arrested by the authorities for inciting protests against the corruption and atrocities of the Nigerian government.

Seun is carrying on his father’s musical and political legacy while forging ahead with his own vision.

"He was a great man but of course every artist wants to define himself," he stated in a press release.

The band’s live performances include classics from Fela’s day and as well as new material. Music styles and political issues have both changed since Seun inherited the band. He addresses today’s topics with modern lyricism influenced by his hip-hop heroes and backed by his own grooves.

"I want to make Fela proud," he explained. "Over the years the band has come to its peak, to the place they were in when Fela was fronting them. And now we go forward. This is the beginning of the reign of afrobeat music. Afrobeat is not just about being Fela’s son anymore. There are hundreds of bands playing afrobeat around the world…what began with my father has become a world movement."

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 will perform at Stuart’s Opera House on Thursday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. There are a limited number of free tickets available for Ohio University students, courtesy of Arts for Ohio. Students may call 740-753-1924 to reserve those tickets; any remaining will be available at the door.

Visit www.stuartsoperahouse.org for more information.