The Afrobeat legacy of Fela Kuti lives on in his youngest son, Seun Kuti, who leads Fela's massive Egypt 80 orchestra to Harbourfront (235 Queens Quay West) Friday (June 29). $25-$30. 416-973-4000.
After your father's death in 1997, were there any problems with you taking over leadership of Egypt 80?
I was eight years old when I first performed with Egypt 80, and when my father died I took over ceremonial control of the band - ceremonial because I was still a minor. I now have executive control. This band is a family, and the generation gap in this case is more of a blessing than a curse because we all respect each other irrespective of age.
When you began performing with Egypt 80, your repertoire was exclusively the music of Fela Kuti. Are you composing more for the band?
I'd say about 90 per cent of what we play is still my father's music. It's a show of respect to the greatest musician I've ever heard, who worked so hard to leave us with such a beautiful legacy. About four years ago I started performing some songs of my own. I can say that I'm working on an album at the moment, but everything else is classified information.
Is the strongly political component of Fela's music important to you?
The truth was the most important thing in Fela's music. People need that kind of fearless attitude toward the various oppressive regimes we have. In Africa, many people who claim to fight for a cause are really just fighting for themselves - when the government gives them some cash, they no longer care about the people. We need a new generation of selfless activists.
Has your once bitter relationship with your half-brother Femi improved?
Our relationship is as good as it has been in years. I've got love for the man. We represent our father in our own way - he would be proud of us both.
Your father famously married 27 women simultaneously at a ceremony back in 1978. Any similar plans in the works?
No way, José!