In The Name Of Love: Africa Celebrates U2

Various Artists

Shout! Factory, 2008

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


They tell a story of when Otis Redding heard Aretha Franklin recording “R-E-S-P-E-C-T;” his only comment was: “Damn, that little girl stole my song.”

Bono needs to say it about Benin’s Angelique Kidjo and “Mysterious Ways.” And that’s not even the best track on the magnificent, magnificent In The Name Of Love: Africa Celebrates U2. An incredible cross-continental tribute to the boys from my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ireland, this album is both a wonderful introduction to the pop music of a continent I have rarely heard and a powerful musical piece in its own right.

We get sent a lot of stuff here at the DV. Some we request, some just gets sent, and some goes to our Supreme Commander Of Coolness (Jason, for the more mundane). Jason often just asks our mailing list “Who wants this?” I have learned that the most random stuff can be the coolest, so I sometimes ask for things with no connection to my current CD collection. This was one of those times, and I’m extremely glad I did.

Every track on ITNOL is good. Every track is, more blessedly, different; none of these artists covered U2 note for note, which makes the CD a unique musical statement. Angelique Kidjo makes “Mysterious Ways” a bright and passionate hymn; anti-apartheid activist and folk singer Vusi Mahlasela creates a heart-rending version of “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own;”;Nigerian blues singer Keziah Jones absolutely nails “One;” and the Soweto Gospel Choir makes an already chill-inducing “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” even more powerful.

The pinnacle of this magnificence is the unbelievably powerful rendition of “Love Is Blindness” by Angolan-Portuguese folk singer Waldemar Bastos. This is one of the most amazing vocal performances I have ever had the privilege to hear. All these tracks make me want to know more and hear more about these artists, artists that in their own countries are huge names but in our Americentric pop culture are unjustly unknown.

In The Name Of Love: Africa Celebrates U2 is a love letter to the music of U2 and to the musical culture of Africa, a culture I want to know more about. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Shout! Factory, and is used for informational purposes only.