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December 5, 2006

{     Rhythms Del Mundo - Choose to help the Earth     } that this kind of music does not exactly meet my liking and that suggesting something I do not love seems wrong to me too, I must still go ahead and tell you to get this CD. Rythms Del Mundo is a unique collaboration between the Buena Vista Social Club not-young-anymore lads and some of the largest selling Western (English mostly, to be exact: the project was born and developed in the UK) artists, who lent some of their most famous tracks to be worked on by the Cuban musicians. What's particularly interesting is the fact that, the project being born in the UK, there is almost no pop track in the album (and in my eyes, that's always a good thing): the preference has been given to independent, rock artists such as Artic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand and even Radiohead (together with more obvious choices like Coldplay, U2, Sting and a Spanish cover of Killing Me Softly by Fugees). The result is a pleasing, soft album, where the influences merge: the mixture of latin sounds and rock make the music sound strangely from the 60s, with that distinct "soundtrack to cocktail scenes" typical of those years. Obviously, covers and collaborations over very known and often recent songs are bound to be disappointing for most people, accustomed to the pure original form responsible for the great success of the track: this is my case and I admit it sincerely. Not even the fact that this is the latest recording of Ibrahim Ferrer, happened shortly before his death, can make me love the album. However, the greatness of the songs is definitely not the reason you should buy this. Forget the fact it is a latin cover compilation: the real value is elsewhere. Rythms Del Mundo - Cuba is a project released by APE - Artists' Porject Earth and it is directed to raise awareness as well as funds towards the enrivonmental cause. In itself, this is a pretty commendable thing for the Cubans: they would have more than enough reasons to decide to fight just for their own country (just pick between freedom of speech, social justice, modernization...) instead than for the entire planet. Instead, determined to do something concrete, this album is really just the excuse to publish an environmetal friendly cd (the packaging is 100% carbon neutral!) and a booklet filled not with the usual "thank you" notes from the artists, but with short articles by the Board of Advisors of APE, counting many famous experts in the fight against climate change: Al Gore, Tim Flannery, Mark Lynas, Herbie Girardet and Mark Monbiot. In the words of this eco fighter:
Ours are the most fortunate generations that have ever lived. we inhabit the brief historical interlude between ecological constraint and ecological catastrophe. [...]we find ourself in an extraordinary position. This is the first mass political movement to demand less, not more. the first to take to the streets in pursuit of austerity. The first to demand that our luxuries, even our comforts are curtailed.
And these are not just words without consequences. Mark Lynas's statement:
I believe future generations will look back on us and feel baffled as to why we didn't act sooner
A minimum of 2 pounds from the sale of each record are donated to APE's Natural Disaster Relief and Awareness programmes. All good reasons for you to go get this as Xmas present to all the treehuggers you know, but even more so to the unaware rainforest killers in your address book. And make sure to get one copy for yourself as well. It's a good compromise between your girlfriend/mom, in love with Latin rythms, and yourself, declared indie boy: excellent for enjoying some time together in front of the fireplace (use ecologic pellets and turn off all the lights, please...) while it's snowing outside.
Climate change - 10 things you can do! 1-Turn off electrical appliances not in use 2-Leave the car in the drive 3-Shower, don't bath. 4-Conserve hot water. 5-Buy local. 6-Minimise tumble dryer use. 7-Insulate lofts, walls and windows. 8-Take vacations in your own country. 9-Compost and recycle. 10-Use energy-saving light bulbs.

     » Vidoes, documentary and words on Rhytms Del Mundo site
     » More about APE and their commitment

     » Buy it...

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