Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit Vol. 1 is a meeting of musical styles and traditions that brings together the world views of songwriters Paul Beaubrun, Jackson Browne, Habib Koité, Jenny Lewis, Raúl Rodríguez, Jonathan Russell and Jonathan Wilson alongside members of Haitian roots band Lakou Mizik at the Artists Institute of Jacmel.
Steeped in polyrhythmic drumming of Haitian Vodou, complex notes of Spanish Tres, Flamenco and Malian Guitar, interwoven with North American folk and rock, Let the Rhythm Lead is a musical odyssey, employing an array of diverse songwriting traditions and genres to tell stories of new friendships and collaborations, powerful spirits and ancient traditions, all the while honoring humanity, love, understanding, awakening and rejuvenation. Six languages narrate the journey with singing in English, French, Creole, Khassonké, Manding and Spanish.
Conceived of by Jackson Browne for Artists for Peace and Justice, the project is the first in a series of meetings that bring together celebrated international songwriters within the rich music and culture of Haiti. Written and recorded over the course of two weeklong trips to Haiti, principal production took place in the We are the World Studio A at the Artists Institute.
Set on a five acre campus overlooking the Caribbean Sea of Haiti's southern coast, the Artists Institute, a private Haitian foundation, was built in partnership with Artists for Peace and Justice, Artists for Haiti and Quincy Jones' and Lionel Richie's We are the World Foundation following Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake. Students, staff and artists from the Institute took part in all aspects of the project, exposing them to the professional arts of songwriting, music and video production.
The resulting album will be released via Arts Music, a world music division of Warner Bros, on August 30th, 2019. A short documentary and four initial music videos, all shot in Haiti with local filmmakers who are graduates of the Institute will accompany the release. Featured Artists have donated their mechanical royalties to Artists for Peace and Justice as their investment toward on-going support for the Artists Institute.
Let the Rhythm Lead is a powerful celebration of the universal forces of creativity, hope and humanity that bind us all together.