As you might have gathered, we’re pretty excited about this Fela Kuti cover that tUnE-yArDs, Angelique Kidjo, Akua Naru, and ?uestlove (among others) were awesome enough to record for us and (RED) for their (RED)RUSH campaign. We’re even more excited to bring you a video we shot of the recording process, hosted by our friends over at OkayafricaTV:
The video showcases the tremendous positive energy that went into the recording process, and gives you a feel for how enthusiastic everyone was (and still is) about the track itself. ?uestlove and Merrill Garbus discuss the anatomy of afro-beat, a genre which has had a tremendous influence on both of their musical styles. Garbus also discusses the difficulty of adapting and reclaiming the song for a more contemporary and feminist audience while still remaining true to the memory and integrity of Fela Kuti.
Akua Naru shares her effort to reclaim the song as well, and what kind of perspective she wanted to bring to the rap she contributed. Angelique Kidjo describes the implications of such a strong female presence on the track. Their inclusion in the song is an essential part of what makes it so powerful, and their insights are not to be missed. It’s clear from watching that all of the incredibly talented artists felt that their version of the song approached Fela’s music from a new and refreshing angle.
Even aside from the fascinating socio-political dynamics of the song and recording process, it’s a joy to watch Garbus guide the arrangement of the song, and watch the interaction amount the artists. It’s almost as though you’re there in the studio with them, and who doesn’t love to be a fly on the wall, watching some of the most outrageously creative musicians in the business do what they do best?