Nigeria: Music in Protest, Protest in Music

Every day this week in Lagos, Seun Kuti, the son of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Anikulapo Kuti, has joined in protests against the government’s decision to end fuel subsidies in the country. (Read the Guardian’s story here). On January 1, 2012, gas prices in Nigeria doubled overnight. Nigerians are furious. For Seun Kuti, it’s another sign that the government is not fully disclosing its finances.

In 2009, I visited Lagos to profile Seun for the PBS series “Sound Tracks.” I met his band the Egypt 80 at Seun’s home the Kalakuta Republic, the house and “independent state” Fela built. The Egypt 80 was Fela’s band. Seun took it over and added some new personnel. “It’s three generations of people you know,” Seun says of the Egypt 80. “People in their 70s, people from their 50s to their 70s. 30s and 40s. People in their 20s. You know, it’s a typical family.”

I’ve never had a chance to post these portraits I took of Seun and the Egypt 80. So here there are. The pictures were taken mid-afternoon at the Kalakuta Republic. The rust-colored paint worked amazingly well with the natural light, and everyone was in a good mood.

Seun Kuti

"Baba Ani" Lekan Animashaun, keyboards

Kola Onasanya, congas

Wale Toriola, clavé/sticks

Ajayi Raimi, drums

"Shigogo" Segun Odubanjo, Seun Kuti's body-man

Oyinade Deniran, tenor sax

Kunle Justice, bass

Alade Oluwagbemiga, rhythm guitar

David Obanyedo, guitar

fan and regular at the Kalakuta Republic

fan and regular at the Kalakuta Republic

fan and regular at the Kalakuta Republic

Ade Oloye, Seun's assistant

Joy Ayomide Opara, singer and dancer

Iyabo Adeniran, singer and dancer

Ademiluyi Yetunde-George, singer and dancer

Muyiwa Kunnuji, trumpet

"GP Saxy" Olugbade Okunade, trumpet and soprano sax

keyboard player Baba Ani's hands


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