The return of Seun Kuti and Egypt 80

Ariana Kramer
Posted 11/18/16

The last time Roots & Wires Presents brought Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 to Taos, the Nigerian band drew a crowd of close to 400 people on a Tuesday night in April 2012. The youngest son of Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti, Seun is following in his father’s …

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The return of Seun Kuti and Egypt 80

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The last time Roots & Wires Presents brought Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 to Taos, the Nigerian band drew a crowd of close to 400 people on a Tuesday night in April 2012. The youngest son of Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti, Seun is following in his father’s footsteps, speaking truth to power and using music as a political tool of resistance.

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 return this Friday (Nov. 18) for a show at Taos Mesa Brewing, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west. Taos’ own Sol Connection is opening. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m.

John Henderson of Roots & Wires Presents, explained that Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat is hard-driving, politically charged music.

“Fela Kuti was born and raised in Nigeria. He basically created this style of music. It’s known for being relentless, intense, not comprising. It tells the truth as directly as possible, and calls out the corruption that exists in Nigeria,” said Henderson.

“Nigeria is a country with a very large population, with a lot of people who are extremely poor,” Henderson explained. “They see in their country a big collusion and corruption between the government and the military as well as the oil companies. Nigeria is a country that is oil-rich and none of the money really gets to the people and I think there are a lot of people that are very frustrated by that and it manifests itself in this music.”

Henderson said that Seun Kuti does “a really good job of honoring his father.”

“He does play one or two of his father’s most famous tracks,” said Henderson. “But, then also a lot of his songs are about what’s going on now, current events in Nigeria and also the continent of Africa. It’s about this music moving forward and keeping it relevant.”

Egypt 80 has about three quarters of the same members who played with Fela Kuti. Seun took over as lead singer of the band at the age of 14, when his father died in 1997. The Egypt 80 band members are Tajudeen Lekan Animasahun (keyboards, musical director), Adekunle Adebiyi (baritone saxophone), Oyinade Adeniran (tenor saxophone), Oladimeji Akinyele (trumpet), Kunle Justice (bass), Yetunde Sophia George Ademiluyi (vocals, dance), Iyabo Adeniran (vocals, dance), David Obanyedo (lead guitar), Alade Oluwagbemiga (guitar), Ajayi Raimi Adebiyi (drums), Kola Onasanya (giant conga), Wale Toriola (percussion) and Okon Iyamba (shekere). Their Taos show offers a unique opportunity for people to hear from the founders of Afrobeat.

“Very rarely does anyone get to experience musicians who start a style or genre of music, and that’s what you’ll get with Egypt 80. These are people who started a style of music in response to a struggle. People in Nigeria have gone through hard times and this is what they’ve created in order to express that and bring attention to it,” says Henderson.

Taos band Sol Connection will be opening for Seun Kuti and Egypt 80. The world beat band plays Latin rhythms mixed in with ska. Members are Brooke Zanatell on vocals, accordion and keyboard; Philip Handmaker on vocals and guitar; Cliff Collins on bass; and Ricky Carlini on drums. Zanatell and Handmaker are longtime Taos musicians and singer-songwriters who formerly performed as Zanagroove. Their upbeat, enthusiastic expression continues in a different direction with Sol Connection, as Latin-infused music that they sing in Spanish and occasionally in Portuguese.

Both Handmaker and Zanatell have spent time in Central and South America and have a deep love for the music of this part of the world. Collins has decades of musical experience and an appreciation for Latin and jazz music. Carlini is from Argentina and brings “an amazing exuberance to everything” said Zanatell.

Sol Connection formed last April, and this will be the band’s fourth gig. The band plays mostly original songs written by Zanatell and Handmaker, with a few cover songs like “Black Magic Woman” and “Besame Mucho.” They are thrilled to open for Seun Kuti and Egypt 80.

“It’s a real honor and it really affirms for us years of work and devotion we’ve been putting into this. It feels like an opportunity to share with the Taos community what we have to give,” said Zanatell.

Sol Connection will also perform at The Taos Inn on Wednesday, (Nov. 23) from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. That show has no cover charge.

For more information on Sol Connection visit them online at www.facebook.com/solconnectionband/ or www.solconnectionband.com. For bookings contact: solconnectionband@gmail.com.

Tickets are $25 at the door and $22 in advance at taosmesabrewing.com. For more information, call the venue at (575) 758-1900. For more on Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 visit seunkutiandegypt80.com.

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