Coming after news of his record breaking performance went viral, son of Nigerian Afrobeat music legend, Femi Kuti in his interview with Punch, clarified that he only broke Kenny G’s record, as the Guinness World Record for the longest note held on a sax was set by Kenny G in 1997 but was actually broken by another sax player 17 years later.
NPR reports that the sax player who set the new record was Vann Burchfield from Birmingham and he did not make the news go viral because he loves Kenny G.
Kenny G held his note for 45 minutes and 47 seconds by using a technique called Circular Breathing. Femi Kuti dragged the note to 46 minutes and 38 seconds using same technique, but Vann had set the record at 47 minutes and 6 seconds.
Now, Femi Kuti clarifies that he broke Kenny G’s record, not Vann Burchfield’s.
Here’s what he said in his interview;
“I did not break the Guinness World Record; I broke Kenny G’s world record. There is still another record. I don’t know Kenny G, he is not my friend and we have never performed together. I have heard about him and listened to about two of his songs even though I don’t know their titles but I have never met him in person.
Initially, when I did something similar to that and it was uploaded on Facebook, some people were making some comments like, ‘so what? Kenny G has done it before. He is a world record holder.’ Someone then checked and noted that Kenny G actually had a record of 45 minutes and 37 seconds. I said I was going to break it and the feedback I got was that it was not possible so, I tried and after the third attempt, I broke his record.
On that night if they had told me there was another record of 47 minutes 05 seconds, I would have broken it as well but no one knew of that record. It was because it was Kenny G’s record that came up when we made an internet search. I was only 38 seconds away from the current world record; I stopped playing when everyone assured me that I was in 46 minutes and I went another extra 32 seconds to be sure that everyone’s time synchronised. So nobody was in doubt that I broke Kenny G’s record.
I was just doing it to prove a point because anytime I hold a key for a long while playing the saxophone, people always mentioned Kenny G’s name. It made me wonder why they always had to compare us because it was not a competition for me. Since they were making it a deterrent to my performance, I decided to go after his record. Now the matter is resolved; no one can compare us anymore. When you have a performance, it is to enhance the creativity of the music and not to show off.
Now the case of Kenny G has been rested but since people are bringing up the case of the Guinness Book of World Record holder out, I will attempt it. I am going to attempt the world record on Sunday and if I don’t succeed this Sunday, I will try again the next Sunday. It took me three Sundays to break Kenny G’s record and do not forget age is not on my side. You have to be focused and I am sure that after I break it, I will not attempt it again. I will just set my mind. I believe it might take me three weeks to break the world record for the longest single note held on a saxophone.
Once I accomplish that, the case would rest and I can go back to doing it for one minute and nobody will tell me rubbish again. It seems as if there are some people that are just bent on always comparing me with people. I am using this to shut them up because whenever I play, they say that someone has done it better. My music was never about that but I need to do this just to put it all behind even for my own personal satisfaction.
While I am doing it, I want to make sure that I have fun. I don’t want to lose focus of putting good melody to my music which is the essence of my music at the end of the day.”