Beninese singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo performed a cover of Midnight Oil’s 1987 song “Beds Are Burning” for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s #PlayAtHome music series.
For their rendition, Kidjo and her socially distanced band offered up a decisively funky take on the synth-tinged Eighties rocker. While the song is about returning land and making reparations to Aboriginal communities in Australia, it has a universal urgency that feels particularly potent now, especially as Kidjo sang the chorus: “How can we dance when our earth is turning?/How do we sleep while our beds are burning?”
Kidjo’s most recent album, 2019’s Celia, was a tribute to Celia Cruz, and earlier this year it won the Grammy for Best World Music Album. Back in March, the singer was set to celebrate her 60th birthday with an all-star concert at Carnegie Hall, although the event was canceled due to the coronavirus.
While in quarantine, Kidjo has participated in several livestream concerts, including Earth Day Live and a fundraiser hosted by the Jazz Foundation of America. She also performed a three-song set for Rolling Stone‘s In My Room series, where she covered the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” the Talking Heads’ “The Overload” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up.”