Near the end of Bob Marley‘s life when cancer had begun to take it’s course he wrote “Redemption Song.” In a song that gives a glimpse into his dealing with mortality, he delivered one of the more widely covered acoustic spiritual ballads today. Some of the versions that ring true to the soul of the song include a haunting rendition by Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer and a live tribute by Lauryn Hill with Ziggy Marley.
Chris Cornell, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam, Annie Lennox, Dave Matthews, Bono & Wyclef Jean, Rihanna and far too many other artists to list here have also recorded or performed this reggae classic. Unlike these artists, when Angelique Kidjo decided to include “Redemption Song” on her PBS special Spirit Rising, she transformed the song into something new, a modern African gospel of sorts. Where Bob Marley’s pain and resolve came through, instead you feel the message coming from Angelique’s powerful voice and her infectious smile as one of hope and joy. Watch the performance below.
Angelique Kidjo – Redemption Song (Bob Marley cover)
You can get more information on Angelique Kidjo and order the PBS Special here.