American singer-songwriter showed his interest in world music early in his career. Before many other musicians jumped in the bandwagon, his music reflected the folk traditions that went beyond the United States. One of such pieces was the Andean inspired hit song "El Condor Pasa." Later, Paul Simon popularized South African and Brazilian music with the albums Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints.
In 2007 the Library of Congress in the United States invited a group of renowned international musicians to honor Paul Simon as the first recipient of the Gershwin prize for popular Song. His guests and Simon himself (sometimes solo or with some of his friends) perform Simon’s most memorable songs. The event was videotaped and is now available in a DVD with 5.1 Surround Sound titled Paul Simon And Friends.
The list of guests is quite impressive, a "dream team" that includes major figures in the world music and American roots music: alt country’s Lyle Lovett; bluegrass stars Alison Krauss, Shawn Colvin and Jerry Douglas; reggae icon Stephen Marley, the late Miriam Makeba (a clip from 1987), South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo, James Taylor and the Dixie Hummingbirds, Buckwheat Zydeco, George Harrison (from the TV show Saturday Night Live in 1976); Gospel singers Yolanda Adams and Jessy Dixon; Dianne Reeves, Latin music star Mark Anthony, Paul Simon’s old friend and collaborator Art Garfunkel; Stevie Wonder on harmonica, vocals and piano; contemporary composer Philip Glass; and even a clip of The Muppets.
Although the entire DVD contains fabulous music and performances, some of the highlights include Paul Simon with his longtime collaborators Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the jamming performance of "Love Me like a Rock" with Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and the Dixie Hummingbirds. Paul Simon And Friends is an extraordinary document of the music of one of the finest American singer-songwriters of the past four decades.
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