Nigerian Afrobeat virtuoso, Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti, popularly known as Femi Kuti, has broken the world record for the longest single note held on a saxophone. The celebrated musician, eldest son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kut, and four-time Grammy Award nominee, attained the feat on Sunday at the New Africa Shrine, his sister, Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, disclosed this on her Instagram page @yenikuti.
“This evening 7th May at the New Africa Shrine, Femi Kuti broke the world record for the longest single note on a saxophone note set in 1997 by Kenny G. “The record stood at 45mins 37 seconds….Femi did 46mins 38seconds!! Give it up, we have a world champ,” Yeni stated on her Instagram page @yenikuti. She added that “this was witnessed by a large audience that included Sen. Ben Murray-Bruce, the deputy high commissioners of Netherlands and The United Kingdom.”
The record was previously set in December, 1997 by legendary saxophonist Kenny G when he held an E-Flat for over 45 minutes. Kenny G was reported to have used a technique called Circular Breathing, which keeps a steady stream of air flowing through the saxophone even as the player breathes. According to media reports, Femi awaits an official recognition by the Guinness World Record. Skilled on other musical instruments including the trumThe pet and the piano, Femi started playing the sax when he was 15 and joined his father’s band “The Egypt 80.”
He later formed his own band, “Positive Force’’ in the late 80s, and began establishing himself as an artist independent of his father’s massive legacy. His first record was released in 1995 by Tabu/Motown, followed four years later by Shoki Shoki (MCA), which garnered widespread critical acclaim.
In 2001 he collaborated with Common, Mos Def and Jaguar Wright on Fight to Win, an effort to cross over to a mainstream audience, and started touring the United States with Jane’s Addiction. In 2004 he opened The Shrine, his club, where he recorded the live album Africa Shrine.
After a 4-year absence due to personal setbacks, he re-emerged in 2008 with Day by Day and Africa for Africa in 2010, for which he received two Grammy nominations. In 2012 he was both inducted into the Headies Hall of Fame (the most prestigious music awards in Nigeria), was the opening act on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ European arena tour and became an Ambassador for Amnesty International. He continues to expand the diversity of his artistry on his new album (2013) No Place for My Dream. Femi Kuti was a judge on Nigeria’s huge TV show Nigerian Idol Season 3.