Nigerian AfroBeat Maestro Femi Kuti Breaks World Record for Longest Note Held on Sax

Mark Babatunde May 16, 2017
Femi Kuti. Photo credit: YesNewsUK

Femi Kuti now holds the world record for the longest single note held on a saxophone.

The AfroBeat legend set the record on Sunday at the auditorium of the New Afrikan Shrine in Lagos, according to Pulse.

The event, which was monitored by a team of local journalists, saw the 55-year-old musician surrounded by friends, family, and fans as he blew his way in to the record books.

The week before, Kuti had attempted to set a new world record when he held a single note on his saxophone for 46 minutes, 38 seconds and surpassed a record set in 1997 by American jazz legend Kenny G, when he held an E-flat for 45 minutes straight.

With that, the “Bang Bang Bang” crooner had erroneously assumed he had done enough to earn him a world record until a number of media and fact-checking organizations, including the BBC, brought it to his attention that renowned saxophonist Vann Burchfield actually set a longer record in 2000, when he held a single note for 47 minutes and 5.5 seconds.

Therefore, during his second attempt, Kuti managed to smash that record as he held a single note for a world record of 51 minutes and 35 seconds.

Following his feat, his sister, Yeni Kuti, took to Instagram to share the news:

I am a happy puppy this morning. Femi made the family and Nigerans, Nigeria, and Africa proud with his record breaking performance at 55 years old. God bless Nigeria and ALL his fans all over the World who have rooted for him and supported him. TVC who were there live to cover it.

Last week I erroneously posted Femi broke the record at 46.38 seconds. I was corrected by @ BBC as there was a 47.05 seconds. Today I happily post that Remi @55 years old made 51.35 seconds. Kudos to you my dear brother. Keep the flag flying.

For his world record feat, Kuti employed a technique known as “circular breathing,” which allows players of some wind instruments to produce a continuous tone without interruption.

The instrumentalist breaths in through the nose while simultaneously pushing air out through the mouth using air stored in the cheeks. The technique has been employed to great effect by musicians, including the aforementioned Kenny G and Burchfield.

Unfortunately for Kuti, Guinness World Records says it has discontinued the record category, where instrumentalists employ circular breathing, and thus it will not be honoring Kuti with a certificate.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: May 16, 2017


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