Loading articles...

Inspired by Fela, Nigeria's Burna Boy blazes trail in the US

Recording artist Burna Boy poses for a portrait on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK — Burna Boy was only six years old when Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti passed away, but that was enough time for the future musician to be inspired.

Kuti’s life and legacy was portrayed in the wildly popular Broadway musical “Fela!” and the late icon was once managed by Burna Boy’s grandfather.

Burna Boy calls both Kuti and his grandfather his heroes.

With a direct line to African musical royalty, it might seem serendipitous that Burna Boy was hand-picked to participate in the soundtrack for a film that happened to be set in his home continent: “The Lion King.”

A week after the Beyoncé-curated “The Lion King: The Gift” album was released, Burna Boy dropped his fourth album “African Giant.” It includes collaborations with Future, YG and Jeremih.

Gary Gerard Hamilton, The Associated Press