It should arrive:
The Red Hot Organization, which has worked on AIDS awareness through pop culture since 1989, has announced a new compilation, RED HOT + FELA. Containing covers of classic Fela Kuti tracks, the collection features tUnE-yArDs, ?uestlove, My Morning Jacket, Tony Allen, Chance the Rapper, members of TV on the Radio and Alabama Shakes, and many more. It's out October 8 on Knitting Factory Records.
The cover of “Lady” by tUnE-yArDs, ?uestlove, Angelique Kidjo, and Akua
Naru made it onto the comp after being first released last year. Merrill Garbus
of tUnE-yArDs also appears on a cover of “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am” by My
Morning Jacket, alongside Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. Meanwhile, TV On
The Radios’ Kyp Malone and Tune Adembimpe covered “Sorrow, Tears &
Blood” with the Kronos Quartet and Stuart Bogie.
Red Hot also paid tribute to Fela Kuti with Red Hot + Riot in 2002.
This is the second volume that the AIDS- and HIV-combatting Red Hot
Organization has dedicated to the music of Fela Kuti, the late Nigerian creator
of Afrobeat, fearless militant political and liberation activist, and cultural
icon. The first, Red Hot + Riot, appeared in 2002 and juxtaposed Fela's music
with hip-hop, neo-soul, and African folk styles. This 13-track set, compiled by
Anthony Demby and Paul Heck, employs the root sounds of Afrobeat more
explicitly. Part of the reason for this is undoubtedly the success of the
musical Fela! Another is that on the African continent, AIDS and HIV remain
massive problems that have taken their toll on families, populations, and
national economies. (Fela died of complications due to AIDS.) The set kicks off
with “Buy Africa” by Congolese rapper Baloji with L'Orchestre de la Katube
and Yoruban singer and songwriter Kuku. The propulsive beats meet the punchy
brass and confrontational lyrics head-on in a dazzling rhythm and rhyme
collision. Drummer Tony Allen, a bandmate of Féla's and an Afrobeat pioneer in
his own right, collaborates with Baloji and rapper M1 on the bubbling
“Afrodisco Beat 2013,” that weaves funk, hip-hop, Afrobeat, and dub together
with lyrics in French and English. “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am” is
performed nearly straightforwardly by Jim James and My Morning Jacket, with
Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. The vibe is
slow, snaky, and hypnotic, though at over 14 minutes, it's too much of a good
thing. tUnE-yArDs and ?uestlove back Beninoise vocalist Angelique Kidjo and poet
Akua Naru in funking up “Lady.” Driven by furious breaks and roiling
basslines, they turn the original sexist lyric on its head. The labyrinthine,
bass matrix dubstep treatment of “Zombie,” by producer Spoek Mathambo with
Cerebral Cortex and Frown, is the set's most adventurous selection. Nigerian
singer Nneka- born Antibalas vocalist Amayo, all front the manic seven-piece
unit Superhuman Happiness in a pumped up, four-on-the-floor reading of on “No
Buredi (No Bread),” complete with distorted kalimbas, zigzagging, squiggly
synths, and popping basslines. Red Hot + Fela's unique yet nearly
seamless-sounding collaborations offer a deeper hearing of Afrobeat in light of
its wide-ranging implications trans-culturally, both in the present era and as
it points toward the future.
All Music Guide – Thom Jurek
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