Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 were the first African act to perform at Rock the Garden. The organizers chose the perfect Band for this. Their 2014 album “A Long Way To the Beginning” has received critical acclaim. The Egypt 80 was founded by his father Fela Kuti in 1967 as Nigeria ’70 renamed to Afrika’70 and later to its current name Egypt’80. The band was part of a larger political idea, a commune and for some time an independent state.
After this father’s death in 1997 Seun took over the band at age 14 and has released several albums since. The sense of community showed at the start of set when every single one of the 13 musicians was introduced valuing their contribution over a tight festival schedule.
Kuti took the stage for the 2nd song and showed the presence and magnetism that earned him the respect of Egypt 80 as a teenager. The band takes their time letting songs develop making the first 3 songs in the photo pit last over 20 minutes. Not that there was a shortage of interesting subjects to shoot. By the end of the 60+ minute set it felt like they had just gotten warmed up. Kuti left the audience with a sermon on the benefits of THC and welcomed its pending partial legalization in Minnesota. Judging from the occasional whiff coming from the audience, some of the crowd were ahead of schedule.