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Rhythms Del Mundo Cuba feat Buena Vista Social Club's Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo

Rhythms Del Mundo Cuba

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

NOW here’s something a bit special – and a little bit different in terms of compilations. Rhythms Del Mundo is a collaborative album that fuses the hot Afro-Cuban sounds of The Buena Vista Social Club Musicians with tracks from some of the biggest bands of the moment, such as Coldplay, The Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand.

It also features the amazing vocals of famed Cuban singers Omara Portuonda and the last ever recording of the much beloved Ibrahim Ferrer.

The album is in aid of Artists Project Earth (APE), a charity that lends support for natural disaster relief and climate change awareness. A minimum of £2 will be donated from the sale of each record – so the advice is don’t be shy in digging deep!

According to Kenny Young, producer and founder/trustee of APE: “The project was sparked off by the devastating Tsunami of Christmas 2005. The idea came to do a project with The Buena Vista Social Club and to fuse their Latin sounds with Western artists and their familiar popular songs.

“The project evolved when more environmental disasters struck – the Asian earthquakes and Hurricane Katrina. But the big picture was climate change. You can call these natural disasters but after all the research and scientific data, we know that we’re at least partly to blame for some of these disasters.

“Global warming is now in the news daily. If we don’t act in the time frame our experts give us, our granchildren will curse us eternally.”

The artists who took part on this album fully support the record as a show of commitment to the music and to the cause that it endorses. Hence, artists such as Jack Johnson and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke have worked with Buena Vista musicians such as Barbarito Torres, Amandito Valdes, Virgilio Valdes, Angel Terri Domech, Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal, Orlando Lopez ‘Cachaito’ and Demetrio Muniz to ensure that the album provides the sort of musical experience that will want to make people fork out for it.

The result offers more surprises than you might have expected, especially since very few would have been able to predict that the sound of the Arctic Monkeys would be able to provide such a seamless mix with the sound of Cuba.

One of the highlights is Dancing Shoes, a passionate blend of Sheffield and Cuba that provides a thrilling Latino-punk rock dancefloor filler. But the subtle guitars and Latin flavour of the Buena Vista musicians also works wonders with Coldplay’s Clocks, featuring Chris Martin’s vocals, Kaiser Chiefs’ Modern Way and Maroon 5’s She Will Be Loved.

There’s some wonderful Latin-flavoured acoustic guitar work on Sting’s Fragilidad and a genuinely classy vibe surrounding Omara Portuondo’s rendition of Fugees’ classic Killing Me Softly. And Vanya’s take on Don’t Know Why is utterly enchanting, especially against the lazy backdrop of the Buena Vista shuffle.

Less successful (somewhat surprisingly) is Jack Johnson’s Better Together, which seems to have a little more trouble fusing the different styles, and Coco and U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

But for the most part, this works like a charm and further highlights include Ibrahim Ferrer’s poignant take on As Time Goes By, the upbeat fusion of Franz Ferdinand’s angular guitars and Coco’s smooth vocals on The Dark Of The Matinee and a virtually unrecognisable version of Radiohead’s High & Dry that replaces guitars for piano and delivers its vocals in Cuban.

It’s an essential collection made all the more notable for supporting one of the world’s most pressing causes.

For more information on APE and how the proceeds from the album will benefit the charity, please go to

Track listing:

  1. Clocks
  2. Better Together
  3. Dancing Shoes
  4. One Step Too Far
  5. As Time Goes By
  6. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
  7. She Will Be Loved
  8. Modern Way
  9. Killing Me Softly
  10. Ai No Corrida
  11. Fragilidad
  12. Don’t Know Why
  13. Hotel Buena Vista
  14. The Dark Of The Matinee
  15. High And Dry
  16. Casablanca (As Time Goes By)

  1. love this record!
    here a cool link

    marcus    Nov 20    #