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Afro Beat scion Femi Kuti breaks Kenny G’s 1997 record, narrowly misses world record

Femi Kuti was thought to have set a new world record for the longest single note held on a saxophone on 7th May at the New Africa Shrine. Femi’s held a note for 46 minutes 38 seconds. It turns out that the record was in fact broken by Vann Burchfield, a saxophonist in Birmingham standing at 47 minutes and 6 seconds. On finding out he missed out, Femi tweeted: “If this is so, then like I’ve said we will work to achieve the 50min mark. No wahala [no problem]. I believe I’ve still got a bit more energy in my tank.”

Femi Kuti was thought to have set a new world record for the longest single note held on a saxophone on 7th May at the New Africa Shrine. Legendary saxophonist Kenny G’s record was set when he held an E-Flat for over 45 minutes 37 seconds whereas Femi’s held a note for 46 minutes 38 seconds. 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.

It turns out that the record was in fact broken by Vann Burchfield, a saxophonist in Birmingham standing at 47 minutes and 6 seconds, a whole minute and 32 seconds longer than Femi. In a recent interview on National Public Radio Vann Burchfield stated, “I knew that I had broken the record. I contacted a few local radio stations here in Birmingham. But just out of respect, I guess, for him (Kenny G), I just let the record stand as it was”

MUSIC – BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival – Femi Kuti July 23, 2016, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY. Photo: Steven Pisano/Flickr

Femi who started playing the sax when he was 15 and joined his father’s band “The Egypt 80.” was disappointed at not knowing about Burchfield’s record saying, “In the morning, everybody woke up and said, oh, there’s another record – 47.6. I said, why didn’t you all say this? I could have done it. Now, it’s very boring.”

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Femi is said to want to try again soon and although Burchfield used a C-sharp because his fingers did not have to press any of the keys thus no cramping Femi is unlikely to go that route stating that, “Yes. Oh, his technique was very good technique. The mistake I am making is I’m holding my fingers, but I can’t go back to using – because it’s too late. I have to find excitement in that note. I have found excitement in the A.”

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On finding out he missed out, Femi tweeted: “If this is so, then like I’ve said we will work to achieve the 50min mark. No wahala [no problem]. I believe I’ve still got a bit more energy in my tank.”

Sadly even if Femi does better than Burchfield Guinness has actually cancelled this category and they are not accepting any attempts to break it. Femi is a four-time Grammy award nominee who is skilled on other musical instruments including the trumpet and the piano making the very impressive fete just another addition to the legend that is Femi Kuti.

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