February 14, 2006
This co-production of the Eden Project, WOMAD, and Real World Records differed from the other Live 8 concerts in that the artists were exclusively African, and the majority of them offered little “star” power outside their own continent (cameos by Nelson Mandela and Peter Gabriel notwithstanding). Stunning performances by legendary pop artists such as Zimbabwe’s Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited, Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour, and Benin’s Angelique Kidjo (accompanied by Gabriel on one piece) remind the viewer why they have achieved international recognition. But the dozens of other artists beautifully showcase the rich diversity of Africa’s contemporary musical styles and traditions. Guitar-oriented highlights include Tinariwen—a Berber ensemble from Mali, described by Gabriel as “the hippest act in world music at the moment”—and soukous pioneer Kanda Bongo Man. This double-disc DVD is an aural and visual delight. (Rhino).