In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2


Bono, of course, has often used his celebrity to shed light on the suffering in Africa, bemoaning continental ills from AIDS to poverty. Such exertions haven’t gone unrecognized: Producers Shawn Amos and Paul Heck (who’s worked behind the scenes with the Red Hot Organization) here convene an A-list of African talent to pay tribute to U2 as the band approaches 30 years of existence. Benin’s Angelique Kidjo kicks off In the Name of Love in style, with a spirited rendition of “Mysterious Ways,” sung in French and Fon (her native tongue), reaching a climax with the chorus’s English words. Nigeria’s Keziah Jones takes on the difficult task of covering “One,” rising above the tune’s myriad cover versions by taking a more upbeat approach. South African singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela similarly takes ownership of “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own,” giving it a Ladysmith Black Mambazo feel. Also exemplary is Angola singer Waldemar Bastos’s rendition of “Love Is Blindess,” sung in English and Portuguese with a fado-like arrangement that takes advantage of his vocal dexterity. Most notable, though, are the Soweto Gospel Choir’s wonderful take on the title track (blending American and African Gospel sensibilities) and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars’ version of “Seconds,” featuring Aerosmith’s Joe Perry on lead guitar, just another mysterious way this tribute moves.