Pop & Rock
VOICES Notes and news on Pop & Rock releases
06 JUN 11 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Two years ago, videos of street musicians around the world playing "Stand By Me" became an Internet sensation. Playing For Change, the resulting CD/DVD was an immediate hit and the title became a beautiful double entendre -- the profits have funded a foundation building music schools in Africa and Asia. Now comes PFC 2: Songs Around The World and it shines with huge names in the worlds of world and roots music.
The brainchild of Grammy-award winning producer Mark Johnson, PFC2 features Baaba Maal, Taj Mahal, Stephen Marley and Suriname/Dutch singer Clarence Bekker. What makes this record really fun is hearing these musicians revise the work of beloved composers like Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and Bob Marley.
Taj Mahal and musicians from Jamaica, India, Sierra Leone and the States turn The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" into an exotic Delta Blues. Baaba Maal inflects Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" with soothing Senegalese pop grooves and, with a little studio magic, Marley's son Stephen sings "Redemption Song" with his father.
There's too much good stuff to fit in this space. Beside the music, it's beautifully packaged with photos and liner notes giving a background story for each track. Johnson is an award-winning director as well and the DVD is spellbinding, taking you from Mali to Brazil, New Orleans to India, Jamaica to Japan. Aside from all of this, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are not just buying some music, but contributing to a worthy cause. It's a win-win.