While we sometimes cringe at the sight of the globe-trotting do-gooder that Bono has become, it can’t be denied that the man and his band mates wrote some powerful music — music that, truth be told, has become slightly shopworn from years of constant play. On a new compilation, In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2, those resonant songs are reinvented and revitalized by artists who truly understand the messages in them.
The performers here may be familiar only to devoted fans of world music (i.e., there’s nobody with the last name Kuti), but their interpretations of the U2 catalog are as diverse as the nations they represent: Nigeria’s Keziah Jones turns in a cover of “One” that strips the song of its messianic overtones and gives it a funky percussion section, while Guinea’s Ba Cissoko brings a new urgency to his understated version of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Needless to say, proceeds from the album go to global charities, so come on, buy it in the spirit of Bonoism.
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