Never heard Afrobeat music? Never even heard of Afrobeat music? Here’s your chance.
Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 perform at the State Theatre on Sept. 9 as part of the venue’s ongoing world music series. Kuti is the son of Fela Kuti, a Nigerian activist and Afrobeat music pioneer.
Seun said he began playing in Egypt 80, his father’s band, when he was 8 years old. He said Tuesday’s set will feature mostly his original material.
“I only do one of father’s songs in my set,” Kuti said. “I always start my shows with my father’s song and pay respect with him, then do my own material after that.”
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Seun described his sound as “original African music” that includes jazz, funk and blues influences.
“If all black music came together and had a child, it would be Afrobeat,” he said.
Though he came to music at a young age, Seun said he loved sports as a child and briefly considered a career as a professional soccer player before realizing that music would be a more permanent career choice.
The concert coincides with the screening of the documentary “Finding Fela” at the State Theatre. The film examines how Fela used Afrobeat music to express his opposition of the Nigerian government in the 1970s and ’80s.
Seun was interviewed for the film and said it provides a good overview of his father’s life and what he stood for.
Past world music performers at the State Theatre include Jake Shimabukuro and the Afro Cuban All-Stars. Josh Ferko, owner of Stax of Trax records, is a supporter of the series and said world music is an important addition to the local scene.
Ferko said he still hears from people who attended the Tinariwen show in 2012 and hopes Seun’s performance will draw a similar reaction.
“It’s tough to get people to realize what this is ... that what you have coming to your theater is very important, historically and otherwise,” Ferko said. “People need to experience this and step outside of their boxes a little bit.”