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'Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief'

January 23, 2010 |  8:06 am

Programs like Friday's "Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief" do not exist to further musical careers, introduce new material or birth fruitful collaborations. Tragedies like last week's seismic disaster necessitate such urgent media efforts, and fundraising is their primary objective. Important information may also be transmitted; perhaps someone's consciousness will be raised. The pleasure, surprise or release that art can offer is merely added value.

That said, several of the major names who came on board for Haiti went beyond the expected heartstring tugs. Many delivered on precisely that front: The evening was full of big ballads and classic laments, from the opening "Prelude To a Kiss" by Alicia Keys to Jennifer Hudson's "Let It Be" and Stevie Wonder's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Others did something different. They made song choices or delivered performances that subtly enhanced our understanding of incomprehensible events.

The most newsworthy performance was the debut of "Stranded," a collaboration between Bono and the Edge of U2, and Rihanna and Jay-Z. The song is part atmospheric film-noir pop recalling U2's previous side project, "Passengers," and part menacing rap. Rihanna had the least to do, but Bono let her lead on the choruses.

Continue reading Shining moments in Haiti telethon.

Website: Hope for Haiti Now


Haiti quake relief: How to help

Multimedia coverage:
The earthquake in Haiti