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Red Hot + Riot: Tribute to Fela

It seems like big fish MCA Records wants to insure that the world at large know who the late great Fela was ...

Cd Review

Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti

Label: MCA Records
Released: 2002

words by: Chinedu Ezeike

It seems like big fish MCA Records wants to insure that the world at large know who the late great Fela was, what he stood for and feel his music. Over the years they have churned out re-issues of Fela's extensive musical catalog and hard to find singles as the masses keep gobbling up every drop of musical feed. While it was previously somewhat difficult to find a Fela cd in your local music store, his music is popping up all over the place due to big label push from MCA. However, it's unfortunate that Fela did not live to witness his newfound fame.

MCA recently sent a copy of the latest release in the Red Hot + Riot musical series, this one a tribute to the late great Fela Kuti himself. The main objective of the project is to raise awareness and money for the millions of Africans now infected with the AIDS/HIV virus.

Major kudos to the producers who decided to go against the grain in the sense that they almost totally refashioned and re-tooled the music as opposed to just cloning it - the popular format for tribute albums.

The artists on this cd practically cover the musical spectrum; Afrobeat, hip-hop, blues, soul, dance, rock, African and anything else you can think of. They include heavyweights like r&b crooner D'Angelo, Femi Kuti, Sade, Macy Gray, jazz legend Roy Hargrove, blues master Taj Mahal, hip-hop's saviors Talib Kweli and Common some of Africa's best ever in Cameroon's Manu Dibango and Senegal's Baaba Maal, plus hip-hop militants Dead Prez and numerous other artists (numbering 30 plus). They all come together to put their own spin on tracks such as "Lady", "Water no get Enemy", "Gentleman" etc on this 20 track deep LP. Most of the songs contain original Fela vocals.

Not only does the roster look promising on paper, the music is spectacular. That being said I doubt if Fela purists will be touting Red Hot + Riot anytime soon. However, for the rest of us that love this music - bang this in your system.

Check out the link on to listen to the complete album courtesy of MCA Records.
Look for the talented Nigerian born R&B artist N'jero, COMING SOON!

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