The latest installment of the series that began in 2006 with “Rhythms del Mundo: Cuba” features new mixes of hits from Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mumford & Sons, R.E.M. and African artists like Rokia Traore and musicians from the late Ali Farka Toure band. The new additions to the tracks were newly recorded in Mali, South Africa and Kenya.
The new mix of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” works well, since the original track already has a certain tropical feel. The same doesn’t ring true with The Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” because they use too much from the original mix (guitar, bass and drums) that just messes up the overdub. You might think that it is because the tune is overly familiar, but one spin of “Losing My Religion” proves how things can work out: all that is left from the original is Michael Stipe’s vocal and the bass line, while everything else is masterfully overdubbed by Toure’s band. Other highlights include Mali-born Rokia Traore’s treatment of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?” (a song that lends itself incredibly well to African beats) and Aloe Blacc’s “I Need A Dollar,” which is transformed from a funky neo-soul song to a groovy roots feel.
As in previous installments, part of the proceeds from the sales of this album will be sent to organizations that fight climate change and promote reforestation throughout the globe. It’s a new way to rediscover some of these songs while also doing some good. (Ernest Barteldes)
“Rhythms del Mundo: Africa”
Artists Project Earth