As should be expected in July, it was an overly warm evening in the East Little Havana borough of Miami. The sun was patiently setting on a cityscape known for neon accents and art deco themes, but we were heading into a less defined neighborhood off the beaten path. It would be a night of first time experiences, as I had never been to this section of the city, nor had the pleasure of patronizing the diamond in the rough venue that is the Manuel Artime Theatre. The Rhythm Foundation, a non-profit organization spanning over two decades of bringing world music to South Florida, had really outdone themselves. Tonight the son of a legendary afrobeat innovator, Seun Kuti, would grace the stage of the beautiful and spacious theatre for an exclusive night of Yoruba music adaptations infused with jazz, funk, highlife and African percussion.
Seun Kuti took the stage after his father's band of phenomenally skilled and dedicated instrumentalist warmed things up. Egypt 80 had been devoted to the genre movement to the point of being arrested and harassed for the cause. That unwavering love emanated from the stage, and it only took three songs before the crowd was up out of their seats and moving their feet. To make things even more exclusive, Fela Kuti never performed the songs he recorded, so this was a fan's dream come true to finally hear his kin and band mates immortalizing him.
|Seun Kuti & Egytp 80|
Videos courtesy of Adam Firtel of Cheesehead Productions