My Morning Jacket, Brittany Howard & Merrill Garbus Honor Fela Kuti


AIDS/HIV awareness and prevention group Red Hot has been an integral force in fighting the virus since it’s inception in 1989, with the group producing 18 albums (most of them very, very good) and dedicating more than 10 million dollars to worthy organizations, causes and pro-social projects around the world. On October 8th of this year the group released it’s second compilation tribute to Afrobeat iconoclast Fela Kuti entitled Red Hot + Fela, a follow up to 2002’s Red Hot + Riot.


A true original, Fela was widely known and revered around the world for his political activism, human rights work and for basically creating an entire musical genre by himself with Afrobeat. Kuti died in 1997 of complications from the AIDS virus and as such unfortunately makes for a perfect subject for the cause. This time around Red Hot recruited several American and African musicians to collaborate on the record and achieved stellar results on several of the tracks.

Here we have an amazing remake of Kuti’s “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am” by quite a cast: My Morning Jacket, Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard, tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus and the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra horn section. The impressive cut clocks in at over 14 minutes on the album, which gives it the distinction of being probably the only Fela cover that is actually longer than the original. Also included is the fantastic live performance from the Jimmy Fallon show which features The Roots playing on the track as well.

Check out the performances below, and prepare to get funky.

Album Performance:

Live Performance on Jimmy Fallon featuring The Roots:

As an added bonus, check out the participants’ thoughts on the man himself:

Jim James’ thoughts on Fela:

Brittany Howard on Fela:

Merrill Garbus on Fela:

Fela Kuti would have been 75 October 15th. RIP.