Afrobeat star completes 2024 WOMADelaide line-up

Nigerian singer and saxophonist Seun Kuti is one of the final four international artists announced for this year’s WOMADelaide, and promises to present a powerful show with the band originally formed by his Afrobeat pioneer father Fela Kuti.

Jan 11, 2024, updated Jan 11, 2024
Seun Kuti and his band Egypt 80 perform during the Womad Festival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2022. Photo: Elvira Urquijo / EPA

Seun Kuti and his band Egypt 80 perform during the Womad Festival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2022. Photo: Elvira Urquijo / EPA

Seun Kuti previously performed with Egypt 80 at the festival in 2009 and 2016, and is said to have an exhilarating stage presence.

“I truly look forward to reconnecting with the WOMAD community in Adelaide,” he said.

“It’s always a special mix of cultures and voices that gives it its special place in my heart.”

The youngest son of the late Fela Kuti, Seun has played with his father’s band Egypt 80 since he was nine years old and led it since he was 14. Their album Black Times was nominated for a Grammy in 2019, and was followed by the EP African Dreams in 2022.

Ten singers, dancers and musicians from Egypt 80 will be coming to Adelaide, including the bassist and percussionist who originally played with Fela. They will take to the stage on the Saturday of the March 8-11 festival for what will be their only performance in Australia.

“It will be a powerful show,” Kuti said, adding that it will also offer a taste of new music to be released during the year.

“Our mission is to bring the energy and the message that we continue to spread worldwide with the Afrobeat music…  I know that the audience there really love our music.”

Seun Kuti has sought to preserve his father’s musical and political legacy, speaking out against injustice and oppression. He was arrested in Nigeria last year after an alleged altercation with police, but embarked on a tour of Europe immediately afterwards.

The other artists in today’s WOMADelaide announcement include English singer and keyboard player Hollie Cook, who is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and Culture Club backing vocalist Jeni Cook, and the goddaughter of Boy George. She was a member of  feminist punk/reggae band The Slits before embarking on a solo career performing what she calls “tropical pop”.

Rounding out the line-up are Amsterdam-based Mauskovic Dance Band – a five-piece said to “fire up the dancefloor with their arsenal of hazy rhythms and dubby percussion, fused with a love of Afro-Caribbean poly rhythms” – and British Lebanese electronic music producer and DJ Saliah.

They bring to 71 the total number of artists and groups set to perform during the festival, with previously announced highlights including Jamaican musician Ziggy Marley, Senegalese star Baaba Maal, UK trip-hop duo Morcheeba, English singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae, and French aerial theatre company Gratte Ciel (with a new show).

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WOMADelaide director Ian Scobie told InReview in November that the event layout has been significantly redesigned this year to try to address some of the overcrowding concerns that occurred in 2023, when more than 110,000 people converged on the park over four days to see acts including headliners Florence + The Machine and Bon Iver.

Retail spaces will be moved to a new WoMarkets hub along Plane Tree Drive to open up more space in the middle of the park, the Zoo Stage and Kidzone spaces will be relocated, and there will also be more toilets and food outlets.

The program for the Planet Talks series of environmental discussions will be revealed next week.

WOMADelaide will be in Botanic Park from March 8-11.

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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