On April 1, 2008, Shout! Factory will release In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2, an album celebrating the music, culture and future of Africa, and an unprecedented musical homage to Bono and U2 for their ongoing humanitarian relief efforts aiding the beloved continent. A portion of the record’s proceeds will directly benefit The Global Fund. Interviews with select artists are available upon request.
Produced by Shawn Amos and Paul Heck, In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2 features Grammy Award-winning/nominated African artists as well as top up-and-coming talents including Angelique Kidjo, Les Nubians, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, VVieux Farka Touré, Vusi Mahlasela and the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Initially inspired by his work in South Africa while running the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, Amos re-entered the music industry with a heartfelt initiative to cultivate greater awareness of the emerging socio-economic success stories happening within many of the country’s regions. Amos, a longtime fan of U2, witnessed Bono’s direct philanthropic impact via the launch of the ONE campaign and (RED), and his poignant outspoken public commentary on the immediate financial needs facing Africa.
Amos felt it was essential that African musicians unite and collectively share their voices of pride, accomplishment and appreciation for both their native country and icons like Bono who’ve substantially embraced the fight against the global AIDS crisis, extreme poverty and the spread of malaria. On December 1, 2006 at the World AIDS Day benefit concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Amos approached Red Hot producer Paul Heck about co-producing In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2.
Several notable African artists were performing as part of Heck’s live production of Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti, including Les Nubians, Tony Allen, Cheikh Lô and Keziah Jones. Heck expressed support for the budding project, and quickly became an invaluable partner with his strong ties to various well-established African artists and knowledge of a handful of buzz-worthy upstarts. Together, they consulted with the artists appearing at the World AIDS Day event, bringing Amos’s personal dream a step closer to becoming a reality.
“Paul and I wanted to develop an easy entry point for the growing global community where they could get more involved and learn something deeper about Africa,” says Amos. “It’s really a focus on the key successes of several regions, and the African artists who originate from these areas. It’s our goal for the public to learn more about all the good that’s happening in Africa. We are trying to garner excitement about the culture, in addition to drawing people toward the struggles of Darfur, etc. This is a project which celebrates Africa!”
12 original interpretations of classic U2 hit songs and some of their more obscure material are featured on In The Name Of Love: Africa Celebrates U2. The collection kicks off with Angelique Kidjo’s powerful multilingual cover of the 1991 chart-topper, “Mysterious Ways.” Aerosmith’s Joe Perry joins Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars for an upbeat, guitar-driven take on “Seconds,” a track from U2’s third studio release, War (1983).
Rising Malian star, Vieux Farka Touré offers a trancy, Sahara Desert blues-influenced rendition of “Bullet The Blue Sky,” an absolute standout performance of one of U2’s most-played live in concert tunes. Additional highlights include Les Nubians dubbed-out dancefloor ready version of “With Or Without You,” the Soweto Gospel Choir’s epic a cappella version of “Pride In The Name Of Love,” and Tony Allen’s Afrobeat translation of “Where The Streets Have No Name Paul Heck notes that, “I was amazed when we approached the artists of how quickly they chose the songs they wanted to do. Many of them grew up listening to U2, and knew the songs so well.”
In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2 sets itself apart from an array of other tribute albums as Amos and Heck have captured a compassionate human element at its core. The liner notes include demographic information, e.g., each artist’s country of origin, date of independence, population size, main export, major issue facing the region, recent actions taken to improve its current state, and relevant websites with additional information. All of the songs were recorded exclusively for this album, and a portion of its proceeds will directly benefit The Global Fund, the world’s largest international financier of the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Author: World Music Central News Department
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