Merrill Garbus, the singer-songwriter otherwise known as tUnE-yArDs, has been grabbing attention in the music world since her debut album BiRd-BrAiNs came out in 2009. Garbus’ signature powerhouse vocals combined with ukulele, drums, a loop pedal, and most recently the addition of electric bass, all help to create the experimental yet accessible sound that tUnE-yArDs is known for. Her second full-length album, w h o k i l l, as well as singles “Bizness” and “Gangsta”, received mention on quite a few top 2011 albums and songs lists, including Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, Spin, and the New York Times.
The band also gained a reputation for their incredible live performances after touring with the Dirty Projectors in late 2009. Since then, tUnE-yArDs has drawn a large audience at shows and music festivals around the world. After seeing tUnE-yArDs perform at Hudson River Park’s RiverRocks last summer, Red Hot’s producer Paul Heck knew he wanted to collaborate with them on a future project. In late April of this year, Red Hot contacted the band about working on a cover of Fela Kuti’s “Lady” for the upcoming Red Hot + Fela album. tUnE-yArDs recorded the track in mid-May, which features ?uestlove, African singer Angélique Kidjo and rapper Akua Naru. This collaboration of artists produced a funky, Afrobeat jam that is not to be missed.
The single will be released this Friday, June 1st on iTunes and will benefit AIDS research. The release of the single also kickstarts (RED)’s new ten day campaign, (RED) RUSH TO ZERO, which will raise funding and awareness in order to end mother-to-child HIV by 2015. (RED) is also launching (RED) ROWS on June 1st, where artists such as the xx, Death Cab for Cutie, and Coldplay will auction off special concert seats and packages for future shows. Music venues across the States will also participate in (RED) RUSH TO ZERO by donating a portion of their profits to (RED) from June 1-10.