Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

 |   |  1 min read

Wyclef Jean: Stayin' Alive
Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

After the Buena Vista Social Club alerted the planet to great old, and largely forgotten, musicians in Cuba – and of course the beguiling rhythms of that small island – it was open season on catalogue exploitation for major record companies, many of whom suddenly discovered they had Cuban bands on their books from decades before the American cultural boycott.

Rubbish releases by cash-ins and hotel lobby bands followed then – inevitably – came the remixers. No Cuban sound left untampered, it seemed.

To its small cash-in credit, the Rhythms del Mundo project appears to work the other way: it took and takes samples – with permission – from bands like Coldplay and Arctic Moneys (remember them?), hooked in U2's Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking to cover and . . .

So far some good and some so-so.

This third installment comes with all the conscience-prod of our times: about $5 apparently goers to a registered charity in the wake of what has happened in Chile, Tibet and Haiti . . . some of which you might prefer to be more specific about if you want to know where your money is going.

As to the music this time out: Wyclef Jean riffing over a sample of the Bee Gees Stayin' Alive is mundane and self-important; the house band do something astonishingly idiotic and lounge with Green Day's version of I Fought the Law and Dylan's Hard Rain (I guess they didn't understand the lyrics but took “I fought the law” and “hard rain” somewhat literally), and frankly I just didn't get Bebe's bedroom moans on Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Curiously KT Tunstall's bloodless version of Jefferson Airplane's Somebody to Love takes off in her flute solo (more a trip than her vocal delivery) and Coldplay's Clocks (which appeared on a previous installment) seems the most adaptable.

Otherwise . . . just well intentioned rubbish really.

Share It

Your Comments

Gavin Hancock - Dec 8, 2011

The first Rhythms del Mundo album "Cuba" was unbearable; I don't imagine this one would buck that trend. The whole reason I listen to Cuban music (etc) is to escape the top 40 likes of Coldplay...how ironic.

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Le Vent du Nord: Territories (Borealis/digital outlets)

Le Vent du Nord: Territories (Borealis/digital outlets)

With this year's Taranaki Womad almost on us (March 15-17), this new album by a Quebecois band is timely, they played the festival last year and delivered their powerful take on traditional... > Read more

Djelimady Tounkara: Solon Kono (Harmonia Mundi)

Djelimady Tounkara: Solon Kono (Harmonia Mundi)

Guitarist Tounkara sometimes spins off notes like an avant-garde guitarist (he is admired by New York's Bill Frisell who has performed with him) but for this album he gets back onto acoustic guitar... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HANK GARLAND: The forgotten star of the six string

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HANK GARLAND: The forgotten star of the six string

When guitarist Hank Garland's '59 Chev station wagon spun out on a road in Tennessee and hammered into a tree in September 1961 it left him unconscious in hospital for weeks. And although he... > Read more

BOB DYLAN, ON FILM: Acting on the margins

BOB DYLAN, ON FILM: Acting on the margins

Somebody at the University of Applied Narcotics in San Francisco has probably written a thesis about Bob Dylan's bizarre film career. Like Neil Young, Dylan appears in movies which make little... > Read more