Femi Kuti attempted a new world record for the longest single note held on a saxophone, last Sunday at the New Africa Shrine. Femi Kuti attained the feat and the news was broken by his sister, Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti 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”.
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 first 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.
However, the Guinness book of records would not be recognising Femi Kuti’s feat, according to their online post during the week. According to the records keepers, they had stopped monitoring the category in which the circular breathing technique was used. This has not stopped Nigerians from speculating a conspiracy theory against feats achieved by Nigerians without recognition from the world body. During the week, many Nigerians questioned why DJ Obi who set a new record for longest playing DJ and now Femi Kuti, were not recognised and honoured in the Guinness book of records. The body had replied in a series of tweets alleging that for DJ Obi, they required additional evidence to back his claim and that Femi’s category had been previously suspended.
When asked how many hours of rehearsal it took him to achieve such feat, the son of the Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti said, ‘It took me three Sundays, I tried it consecutively for three weeks.’
Kuti continued, ‘Holding your breath is very boring. It’s not an easy thing to do, all your organs and muscles will want to give up. At a point you get lost in the performance and you don’t even know where you are again.
‘It’s about slowing the tension in your body as well, your mind must also be focused, or else one will be thrown off balance.’
But that’s not the end of the Afrobeat legend’s plan to thrill his guests at the Afrika Shrine, as he promised them more.
‘I’m going to try to go for 50 minutes, I’ll try next Sunday again, and if I don’t succeed, I’ll try again.
‘It took me three Sundays to get here, and since the fire is burning, I’ll keep trying, but I regret that I did not try this in my thirties.’
When we probed him on why he did not try it in his 30s, he said, ‘Back then, people were always trying to put me down. They were always saying, Kenny G has already done it.
‘But now, no one can hold me back, I’m going for 50 minutes and then I’ll go for one hour,’ Kuti boasted.