Ein Gespräch mit Seun Kuti // London – Berlin

Im kalten Februar nahm sich Musiker Seun Kuti Zeit für ein Gespräch zwischen den Proben für sein Londoner Konzert. Für sein neues Album Black Times ist Kuti momentan auf Europatour. Beim Interview hatte er viel über seine Kindheit, seinen berühmten Vater Fela Kuti, korrupte Politiker und wie er zur Musik kam zu erzählen. Hier ein Auszug:

Earliest Memory connected to music in childhood?

I think one of my earliest memory of music is hearing my father rehearse in the house. That was one of my first musical experiences. Seeing someone playing music even before I knew what a concert was. The interaction with my Dad’s band was my first major music experience.

When was the first time you picked up an instrument?

I was about 6 years old. It was my dad’s saxophone. My dad used to have his saxophone layed out in the living room on display. So one day I was picking one up as a kid and he came up to me saying: “listen, this is not a toy. If you wanna play the sax I’ll buy you your own sax.” And I said I want to play and he said fine.

Typical situation at home, what was normal?

Normal wasn’t normal. The only thing that wasn’t normal was normal. My dad had a rule back then: our house was more a commune than it was a home. It had 200 people living in it, close to 300. I grew up understanding that I come from a really huge family. Every motherland person in the world is part of my family. That’s my dad – he opened his home and his heart to everybody.

Also my dad never used to leave the house. My Mom was the disciplinarian. She used to want to kick my ass, make me do my assignments. My dad never believed in western or formal education. He concentrated on building my mind.

Did you go to school every day?

Yes, I was going to school. I was going to LIPA the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. I was going to school every day, primary school, secondary school and I was quite good at school. My dad never cared. He said: man, keep your results to yourself. Now that I’m grown I understand what he was saying, because you are not taught anything about being ourselves at school. It was more like indoctrination, not education.

Performing Egypt 80 at very early age – 9 years old – was it an instinct?

It is what I like to call my childhood innocence. I asked my dad and we used to go to every show, he took me to every town and when I went on stage I used to think: “This is the easiest job ever!” you just go on stage, you play your music, people love you and they give you money and you can go everywhere. Where is the work here? Show me the work. This is what I want to do.

– the easiest job, would you still think so today?

It is definitely not the easiest job in the world, I made a mistake there, you know. You have to forgive my childhood stupidity. Music kind of tricked me though. For the first years in a band, I used to open the shows for my Dad. Nobody came to watch me anyway, I was just warming up for my dad. And that was the easiest job – do what you like. But the show didn’t depend on me and it went on and on. But when I turned 14 things got serious. That’s when I realized: Music ain’t that easy at all.

Africa & world abroad – are there differences in the political world?

Politically the world is very similar, because the global leaders, the corporations have been able to completely pool politicians to the outside. So the government basically represents the interests of the corporations. The American government will protect the American interests lets say in Iraq. We know that the American interests in Iraq are not the people. It’s the business that’s the interest. The French interest in ivy coast is the same, it’s French business. So in that way every government if left or right is the hand of the same monster. A classical example is the financial crisis. Do you know how hard it is to make the government invest $5 Million in education? You have to protest for a year, you have to fight for it. I don’t think the bankers had to protest at all. The government spent $10 Trillion to make up for a mistake that they made.


Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 kommen am 19. Mai nach Berlin.

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