A stunning performance by Seun Kuti in Paris

The 12th edition of the annual La Villette Jazz Festival kicked off in Paris on September 3. The 12-day event featured a handful of renowned international artistes like Gregory Porter, Antibalas, Jamie Cullum, Fatoumata Diawara and Nigeria’s  own Seun Kuti and Fela’s Egypt 80 Band, amongst others.
Seun and Fela’s Egypt Band performed at the prestigious Cité de la Musique in Paris to a capacity crowd, creating an electrifying ambience. Like the ritual with the Kuti music clan, the band performed the first track before Seun himself got on stage to kick off with two of his late legendary father’s tracks ” ITT” and “Zombie”. He went on to play several of his own tracks including “You Can Run”,  “The Good Leaf”, “Slave Masters”,  “African Airways” and  “African Smoke” – the last two being new tracks to be released in his upcoming album before the end of the year. Seun featured Christian Scott and Dead Prez as guests at different times during the show. The former is a young renowned American jazz trumpeter and composer who has worked with the likes of Grace Kelly and Nnena Freelon. The two guests lived up to billing, blending jazz and rap music into the Afro beat concert.
After about 10 tracks, the band signed off the stage but the rousing chant of “encore” from the crowd interrupted the usual “short break” that normally ends the band’s performance. The band then came back on stage to please the audience to the gyrating rhythm of Fela’s “Shuffering and Smiling.”
One of the high points of the show was when Seun expressed his appreciation to the audience for their support and for being good fans. He decided he was going to take a picture of the crowd and put it on his social network pages, just as fans do of him on their pages. At that point, he asked for the light of the hall to be turned on, so that he could take a clear picture. However, the light operator didn’t seem to understand what the request was actually, as Seun’s pronunciation of “lumiere” didn’t sound French enough, I guess. After about almost two minutes without the hall lights, virtually all the people in the audience raised up their mobile phones lighting the hall with the lamps on them. The glow in the hall formed an amazing tapestry of colours that allowed Seun take his picture from the stage. All that while, the band maintained a steady and rhythmic background music to sustain the ambience.
The performance at the festival was part of the ongoing 2013 global tour of Seun Kuti and Fela’s Egypt 80 band. They travelled to Antwerp the next day to perform at De Roma. The band also performed at the World of Music Arts and Dance (WOMAD) Festival in Russia on September 20, where dancers of the band gave a dance workshop yesterday.