Rhythms del Mundo

Rhythms del Mundo: Cuba

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Turning the covers album concept on its head, Rhythms del Mundo: Cuba doesn't set a varied group of northern artists loose on the music made famous by the Buena Vista Social Club, but instead sets the Club's members lose on the northerners' own songs. Now that's an inspired idea, and all to aid charities assisting the victims of natural disasters and raising awareness of climate change. However, to call this a covers album is a bit misleading, as most of the songs feature the original vocals, and occasionally some of the original instrumentation, but it's not a remix project either, as the Social Club add their own music to the original recordings. So, it's a grand fusion of Cuban and northern sounds. And eclectic to boot, with songs contributed by such international artists as Quincy Jones, Sting and U2, as well as the likes of Radiohead and Coldplay. But to give the set a real frisson, the Social Club also took on such younger, feted artists as Franz Ferdinand, Maroon 5, the Kaiser Chiefs, and the so hot they're actually sizzling Arctic Monkeys. Reaching back into the past, Ibrahim Ferrer and the Club also deliver up a lush cover of "As Time Goes By," Omara Portunondo joins Ferrer for an equally lavish "Casablanca," and in another (and one of her final recordings) the late singer offers up a heartrending "Killing Me Softly." These numbers give the set its timeless quality; the rest its up-to-date feel. Not every song works perfectly, Jack Johnson's vocals are a bit uncomfortable rhythmically on his version, but Coldplay's is superb, the Arctic Monkeys are absolutely lethal, U2's track is stunning, and Dido and Faithless' is sublime. The Club brings out the sweetness and glow of Maroon 5's song, give the Kaiser Chiefs a wonderful Latin kick, totally reinvent Radiohead, then give Quincy Jones a lesson in authentic Spanish music, while trotting out their own soul credentials. Of course the musicianship is flawless, the arrangements inspired, and this mix of north and south proves that the music is not just simpatico, it was surely made for creative melding.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
feat: Coldplay
5:01 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Jack Johnson
3:27 SpotifyAmazon
3 2:29 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Dido / Faithless
3:17 SpotifyAmazon
3:10 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Coco Freeman / U2
4:53 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Maroon 5
4:05 SpotifyAmazon
8 3:58 SpotifyAmazon
9 4:27 Amazon
10 4:30 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Sting
4:17 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Vania Borges
3:10 SpotifyAmazon
3:37 SpotifyAmazon
14 3:58 SpotifyAmazon
15 5:14 SpotifyAmazon
3:10 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick