Review: I’ve heard that Fela before…

TAKING on the greats is always a tricky proposition, but Red Hot + Fela sees a myriad of artists both Western and African do just that with the late, great Fela Kuti.
And these are no standard covers – ranging from hip hop to house to jazz these reworkings are carried out with such imagination and enthusiasm that in most cases only the spirit and feeling of the originals remain.
Because of the variety the results are as you’d expect a mixed bag, but more hit than miss – personal standouts for me are the moving, largely-instrumental Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am, plus the Underworld-esque No Buredi.
And the all-star list of contributors – which include tUnE-yArDs, Questlove, My Morning Jacket, Alabama Shakes, Kronos Quartet and TV On The Radio among their ranks – have done this in the name of charity, to help raise money towards the fight against HIV/AIDs.
So if you’re a fan of Fela Kuti, I urge you to put any reservations to one side, and if you’re not, I’ll wager a listen to this and you’ll be looking to discover him afterwards.