Music & Activism: Seun’s ‘Goat and Yam’ Hypothesis Seeks Saner Nigeria
There is a story behind every brand. However, the only difference is in being able to tell your own story or otherwise. The former of course, records more engaging relationship with the public and gets the public’s buy-in better than the latter. Like his father, legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Seun Anikulapo, a chip off the old block, and his Egypt 80 band has got exciting stories behind his music in the manner of a good brand custodian.
A recent listening party tagged “An evening with Seun” affords the Afrobeat impresario, opportunity to tell the story behind his most recent work, a new animation musical video tagged the “Theory of Goat and Yam”. While at best this is a hypothesis, but Seun preferred to the “Theory” appellation insisting there are “a lot of body of knowledge” validating his submission.
Anyway, like his progenitor, most of his musical works have their roots in activism and causes to better the lot of the common man.
“I had planned to record a chart buster in 2020 but the covid-19 pandemic distorted this plan that was put in place alongside some good friends”, Seun had told the house. To circumvent pandemic challenge, we had to do something and the lot fell on selecting one of his old songs for the new work.
Earlier in February 2018, Seun Anikulapo Kuti and The Egypt 80 Band literally performed a story at Jazz a la Villette in France that held the audience spellbound. “They glued to the stage in a mix of rapt attention, entertainment and, according to many, it was an inspiration for a better Africa”.
According to Seun, the song, titled “The Theory of Goat & Yam”, picks its title from the parable told by former Nigerian President Ebele Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday February 11, 2015 edition of the Presidential media Chat.
“In the media chat, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, addressing the question of criticism against Corruption in his administration, stated that the issue of corruption in Nigeria is like a case of Goat and Yam. The parable basically saw the Nigerian people as the ‘Yam’ and the corrupt politicians in power as the ‘Goat’ who stubbornly refuses to stop being corrupt and continues to steal the commonwealth”.
In the song, Seun Kuti creatively analysed the reason why the Nigerian people continue to suffer. In the Analysis, he posed the following question: If the Goat is eating Yam, what then are the owners of the goat eating?
Coming down hard on the corrupt leaders, the Afro Beat maestro avers further that the theory also explains the erroneous concept of ‘Chopping Life’ which is a common mentality with Nigerians who believe in the idea of ‘chopping life’ to the point that corrupt politicians, public and private sector leaders do not mind eating Nigerians as a way to justify their corrupt opportunity to ‘chop life’.
The underlining message in all this, according to Seun’s presentation is another clarion call on the public to present a common front against the enemies of the common good. It is a continuation of the family history of planned and sensible activism. Of course, Seun was born into it and has left no one in doubt of his determination to uphold the ideals of a sane society.
The musical video which was released at the height of the #ENDSARS peaceful demonstrations is embraced by a lot of young people in the audience. However, Seun warns that a lot of sense and strategy should be deployed in a bid to bring about expected results. “It shouldn’t be demonstration for demonstration sake”.
“The Theory of Yam and Goat Music Video” as Seun calls it, insisting (there is a lot of body on knowledge behind it) is officially released and available on Seun Kuti’s official YouTube Channel, revealed his manager, Ayo Moses Ogedengbe.
Seun Anikulapo Kuti, the youngest son of Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Anikulapo Kuti has spent most of his life preserving and extending his father’s political and musical legacy as the leader of the Egypt 80 band, Africa’s longest surviving band.
Born in early 1983, Seun showed interest in his father’s music from the age of five, and at nine began opening Fela’s shows, singing a select group of songs with Egypt 80 before his dad took the stage. As a developing saxophonist and percussionist, he entered the formal ranks of the band before he was 12.
Fela passed in 1997, and Seun, in fulfillment of his father’s wishes, assumed the mantle as head of Egypt 80; he has run it ever since and taken the band across the different continents of the world.
In 2018, as evidence of his great work ethic, Seun Anikulapo Kuti, who has been working for almost 26 years, came out with his ‘Black Times’ album which got a Grammy nomination in the World Music category at the 61st Grammy Awards.