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'Finding Fela' Archives: 'Red Hot + Fela' Video Highlights

To celebrate the upcoming theatrical release of 'Finding Fela,' Okayafrica looks back at 'Red Hot + Fela.'


'Finding Fela,' the new Fela Kuti documentary from Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney, begins its North American theatrical run on August 1st. To celebrate we'll be finding Fela in our Okayafrica archives with a look back at our favorite Fela-related videos, galleries, remixes, interviews and much more.

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Of the twenty or so releases from the Red Hot Organization, Fela Kuti is the only artist to have been honored twice. In 2002 Red Hot put out the seminal Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti, a 20-track compilation featuring contributions from the likes of D'Angelo, Femi Kuti, Macy Gray, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Bilal, Nile Rodgers, Common, and Tony Allen. Then in October of last year, Red Hot issued part two of its tribute to the afrobeat godfather. The 13-track Red Hot + Fela brought over 30 artists from various musical backgrounds together, including Spoek Mathambo, Just A Band, Bajah, Baloji, Sinkane, Nneka, Zaki Ibrahim, Tony Allen, Angélique Kidjo and Sahr Ngaujah plus Questlove, tUnE-yArDs, Childish Gambio, Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard, and Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe from TV On The Radio. Okayafrica was around to document much of the project's development. Below we look back at some video highlights in Red Hot + Fela history.

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The Making of "Lady" With Questlove x tUnE-yArDs x Angélique Kidjo x Akua Naru

In 2012, Okayafrica TV caught up with Questlove and Merrill Garbus (aka tUnE-yArDs) to talk about dissecting Fela’s complex percussive rhythms and reclaiming “Lady” for modern African women.

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Baloji x L’Orchestre de la Katuba x Kuku "Buy Africa"

One of the first video drops off the latest Red Hot + Fela was "Buy Africa" from Congolese rapper BalojiL’Orchestre De La Katuba and Kuku. The vibrant lyric video translates Baloji's raps, revealing both stinging and beautifully-crafted lines like Africa's in deep tides of oil like placenta.

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Spoek Mathambo x Petite Noir x Zaki Ibrahim x The Frown x Fever Trails "Zombie"

Spoek leads a tripped-out, electronic interpretation of Fela's massive "Zombie," enlisting help from fellow South African artists Petite Noir, Zaki Ibrahim, The Frown and Fever Trails (aka Nicolaas Van Reenen). The Kent Andreasen-directed music video showcases the clothing of SA designer Floyd Avenue and "follows Spoek on a tropical, shadow filled expedition, sporting Avenue's designs."

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Finding Fela North American Theatrical Dates

New York, NY, IFC Center (August 1-7)

Denver, CO, Landmark Chez Artiste (August 8-14)

Washington, DC, Landmark E Street Cinema (August 8-14)

Vineyard Haven, MA, Martha's Vineyard Film Society (8/8-8/10 & 8/15-8/17 ONLY)

Santa Fe, NM, The Screen (August 8-14)

Berkeley, CA, Landmark Shattuck Cinemas (August 15-21)

Los Angeles, CA, Landmark Nuart Theatre (August 15-21)

San Diego, CA, Landmark Ken Cinema (August 15-21)

San Francisco, CA, Landmark Opera Plaza Cinema (August 15-21)

Atlanta, GA, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema (August 15-21)

Boston, MA, Landmark Kendall Square Cinema (August 15-21)

Philadelphia, PA, Landmark Ritz at the Bourse (August 15-21)

Nashville, TN, Belcourt Theatre (August 15-21)

Minneapolis, MN, Landmark Lagoon Cinema (August 22-28)

Albuquerque, NM, Guild Cinema (August 22-25)

Columbus, OH, Gateway Film Center (August 22-28)

Oklahoma City, OK, Oklahoma City Museum of Art (August 29-30)

Houston, TX, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (August 29 - September 4)

Seattle, WA, Landmark Varsity Theatre (August 29 - September 4)

Montreal, QC, POP Montreal (September 19)

Memphis, TN, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (October 23)

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Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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