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.
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.
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.
One of the first video drops off the latest Red Hot + Fela was "Buy Africa" from Congolese rapper Baloji, L’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.
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."
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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