The first single from the forthcoming album ‘(RED) Hot + FELA’ has debuted 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.

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 (The National) helped raised in excess of $1 million for AIDS charities.

You can hear the track here and now buy it from iTunes. All monies will go to 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 (Antibalas) on tenor 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 due to play numerous festivals and shows in UK in the next few months:


8th – Nova Festival, West Sussex

10th – The Sage, Gateshead

11th – Oran Mor, Glasgow

12th – Latitude Festival, Suffolk


18th – Summer Sundae, Leicester

19th – Green Man Festival, Crickhowell