The first single from the forthcoming album (RED) Hot + FELA has debuted today with a remake of Fela Kuti's 'Lady' available to buy now. The track also appears as part of a launch for a ten day AIDS awareness initiative, (RED) RUSH TO ZERO, hoping to raise funding and awareness to help deliver an AIDS Free Generation by 2015. More information here.
Taken from the follow-up to 2002's Red Hot + Riot, a landmark charity album where the likes of Common, D'Angelo and Sade covered songs by Fela Kuti, 'Lady' features the extraordinary talents of Angelique Kidjo, tUnE-yArDs, Akua Naru and Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson. Recorded earlier this year with Paul Heck at Converse Rubber Tracks studio, their version was done on just it's second take; no pro-tools cut and paste needed, just amazing musicians playing live in a room. Once recorded, Angelique Kidjo added fiery lead vocals and Akua Naru's deft rhymes re-contextualized the essence of this new version. For the full roll call of all involved in the track, please see below.
Producer Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs said, "I wanted to reclaim 'Lady' for women in the world today, particularly African women, who will have an important role in ending the AIDS epidemic there. I was so happy to have the powerful Angelique Kidjo pour her soul into it, and then rapper Akua Naru wrote a raw, intense verse that perfectly extended and completed our vision of the song."
(RED) Hot + FELA will be released later this year on Knitting Factory Records and is also the first collaboration between AIDS charities (RED) and the Red Hot Organization, the latter being responsible for a long running line of compilations that benefit AIDS organisations. 4AD fans will know them best from 2009's Dark Was The Night, where a stellar cast brought together by Aaron and Bryce Dessner from The National helped raised in excess of $1 million for AIDS charities.
'Lady' will be included on (RED) Hot + FELA and it features the vocals of Angelique Kidjo and Akua Naru'sha with backing vocals from Merrill Garbus (tUnE-yArDs), Patricia Preware and Antonia Hartley. ?uestlove's drumming prowess anchors the session and he's joined by Nate Brenner (tUnE-yArDs) on bass, Luke O'Malley on guitar, Ray Angry aka Mr Gold Finger on keyboards and the horn section of Stuart Bogie on tenor (Antibalas) and members of Rubblebucket: Alex Toth on trumpet, Annakalmia Traver on baritone and Adam Dotson on trombone. Lastly, Miles Arntzen (Antibalas) played shekere and claves.
tUnE-yArDs are currently on a North American tour and headline New York's Terminal 5 tonight. They're also due to play numerous festivals and shows in Europe throughout the summer. More details here.