Next Tuesday, October 15, would have been Fela Kuti’s 75th birthday. The Nigeria-born Fela was a responsible for bringing Afrobeat—and world music in general—into the Western world. And though he passed away in 1997, his legacy still stretches across the globe.
Yesterday saw the release of Red Hot + Fela, a new benefit compilation of classic Fela tunes reimagined by the likes of Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, My Morning Jacket, tUnE-yArDs, Childish Gambino, Spoek Mathambo, members of TV on the Radio, and a host of African artists. Fela—whose life was captured in the Broadway musical Fela!, produced by Jay Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith—is also being remembered in a series of videos that find all manner of legends, including George Clinton and Brian Eno.
One of those participants is Paul McCartney, whose new album New is about to land in stores. In the exclusive video below, McCartney talks about a great lost Fela tune that he saw performed live once but has never been able to track down on record. Clearly, it left an impression: