Playing a single musical note for a long time is no mean feat. Only three people have recorded major milestones in this regard in the past 20 years.


Nigeria’s Afrobeat icon Femi Kuti is one of them.

Last week Sunday, the musician held a single musical note for 51 minutes, 35 seconds, making it the longest time ever spent blowing on a wind or bass instrument.

That was a week after he had held a single musical note for 46 minutes, 38 seconds – also at the New Afrikan Shrine, Lagos.


After his first attempt, many assumed that he broke the world record but after some digging, TheCable Lifestyle discovered that Kuti’s attempt was 27.5 seconds shy of Van Burchfield’s 17-year record.

Burchfield had in 2000 broken Kenny G’s 45 minutes and 47 seconds record which was set in 1997.

The trio was able to go the mile using the circular breathing technique.


Circular breathing is a technique which keeps a steady stream of air flowing through the saxophone even as the player breathes.


It can be achieved by storing air in the mouth and using the reservoir of air to inhale through the nose while air is still coming out of the mouth.

Many players of wind instruments often use the technique to sustain a continuous tone for an extended period of time.

TheCable Lifestyle has learned that while the ‘longest or sustained note on a wind or brass instrument’ category still exists, the circular breathing technique is no longer allowed.

Responding to an inquiry on the matter, the Guinness World Records released a statement, saying, “We have a record for the longest sustained note on a wind or brass instrument. However, circular breathing is not currently allowed.”


“All techniques are listed in the specific guidelines for each individual record, which clarify how a record is to be broken and what rules and regulations need to be adhered to.

“If you would like further information about these guidelines then you would need to apply for said record.”

In essence, while Kuti may have broken Burchfield’s record, the circular breathing technique is no more recognised by the world records body.

“We now only accept claims not using circular breathing,” said the Guinness World Records.


It is unclear if anyone in Kuti’s camp applied for and studied the guidelines – which disallows circular breathing – before he embarked on his record-breaking quest.

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