Over the years, AIDS charity Red Hot has recruited a number of musicians worldwide for charity compilations benefiting AIDS awareness and research. These have included both Red Hot + Rio and its sequel, featuring the likes of Beck, David Byrne, and Beirut, and the Rhythms Del Mundo all-star remix album. On October 8th, Knitting Factory Records will unveil Red Hot’s long-in-the-works Fela Kuti covers compilation, Red Hot + Fela.
The 13-track effort features a number of notable collaborations: Questlove and tUnE-yArDs on last year’s cover of “Lady”; Childish Gambino and Just A Band tackling “Who No Know Go No”; My Morning Jacket teaming with Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and tUnE-yArDs’ Merril Garbus on “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am”; TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe’s reworking “Sorrow Tears and Blood”; and Chance the Rapper appearing on a rendition of “Gentleman”.
With a cast of such diverse musicians, organizers opted not to make this a simple Afrobeat album, focusing instead on having contributors emphasize other facets of Kuti’s music.
“Fela’s music has deeply inspired and impacted how we think about music, said Stuart Bogie, whose band Superhuman Happiness tackled “ITT” and backed-up TV on the Radio. “From critical details like his use of guitars and bass lines in perfect rhythmic counterpoint, to his long and epic forms, his music is a treasure and deep reason for musicians all over the globe. One challenge was maintaining the lyrical integrity. Fela’s poetry is a critical component, and we aren’t satisfied with getting it close – we want our tracks to honor his work the same as you would honor the lyrics of a Beatles, Bob Dylan, or Prince track.”
Red Hot + Fela Tracklist:
01. “Buy Africa” – Baloji & L’Orchestre de la Katuba featuring Kuku
02. “Lady” – tUnE-yArDs, Questlove, Angelique Kidjo + Akua Naru
03. “Yellow Fever” – Spoek Mathambo + Zaki Ibrahim
04. “No Buredi” – Nneka, Sinkane, Amayo + Superhuman Happiness
05. “Who No Know Go No” – Just A Band + Childish Gambino
06. “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am” – My Morning Jacket w/ Merrill Garbus + Brittany Howard
07. “Sorrow Tears and Blood” – TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe, Kronos Quartet + Stuart Bogie
08. “ITT” – Superhuman Happiness w/ Sahr Ngaujah, Abena Koomson + Rubblebucket
09. “Afrodisco Beat 2013” – Tony Allen, M1 + Baloji
10. “Gentleman” – Just A Band, Bajah + Chance the Rapper
11. “Hi Life Time” – GendEr Infinity
12. “Zombie” – Spoek Mathambo + Cerebral Cortex + Frown
13. “Go Slow” – King