Fact Check: Did Femi Kuti just break the world record for longest note held on a Saxophone?

Femi Kuti
Femi Kuti Via Guardian Nigeria

Did Femi Kuti just break the world record for longest note held on a Saxophone?

Most likely not.

News has been trending all day that Afrobeats superstar Femi Kuti has broken the world record for longest note held on a Saxophone, after he held a note for 46 minutes and 55 seconds on Sunday night.

While it is true that Femi Kuti made an attempt, facts have proven that he didn’t break the world record — although he came very close.

We think this news was a misinterpretation of what Jonathan Murray-Bruce captioned a video he tweeted during Femi Kuti’s attempt to break the record at Africa Shrine in Lagos.

Jonathan tweeted: “At 46 minutes and 38 seconds I’m sure Femi Kuti broke the world record.”

Note that he said “I’m sure.” Well, that was what he thought and he probably tweeted out of excited and amazement at Femi Kuti’s exceptional feat. But the fact remains, he was wrong.

Here’s some context to help you understand why Femi Kuti didn’t break the record

First, this record was originally set by popular saxophonist Kenny G.

On December 1, 1997, Kenny G attempted to set this record and he successfully held an E-flat note for 45 minutes 37 seconds. He was able to do this using a technique called Circular breathing.

However, according to Huffington Post Kenny G’s record was surpassed in 2000 after musician Vann Burchfield held a note on his Sax for 47 minutes, 5.5 seconds — which also surpasses Femi Kuti’s recent attempt.

It’s quite clear that although Femi Kuti broke Kenny G’s record, he did not surpass that of Vann Burchfield.

Also, it’s important to note that this category under the Guinness World Records which Femi Kuti is attempting to win no longer exists — as you’d notice if you scan through their website.

Vann Burchfield also captioned in his video above: “Since Guinness cancelled this category, my record still stands to this day.”

It appears that using Circular breathing — the same technique both Kenny G and Vann Burchfield used to break the record — is no longer allowed in this category.

Screenshot of Facebook comments on Guinness World Records website
Screenshot of Facebook comments on Guinness World Records website. Via Guinness World Records

The only existing category similar to this is ‘Longest sustained note on a wind or brass instrument’ which requires contestants to use only natural breathing. The record for this category is presently held by Philip Palmer at 1 min 13.38 sec.

Therefore, the only way it can be confirmed that Femi Kuti broke this record is if he actually held the note for 45 mins without using circular breathing technique, or any other technique.

Could he actually have done that with his natural breath?


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