Mar 222016

My Morning Jacket frontman and angel of a singer Jim James has teamed up with Pakistan’s Sachal Ensemble to rework Stevie Wonder‘s “Love in Need of Love Today” into a joyous Eastern hymn. For a man who knows how to yell, James shows restraint in his spot-on Wonder impression, but his voice doesn’t lose any of the song’s emotion. It helps to have Sachal Ensemble at your side, an ensemble that’s famous for their classical reinterpretation of Western music (their Dave Brubeck cover is the best example).

Sachal Ensemble were the subject of last year’s documentary Song of Lahore, which followed the ensemble’s struggle to perform traditional Pakistani music in a country rejecting its musical roots. The documentary’s companion album, due May 20th, also features Nels Cline, Sean Lennon, and Meryl Streep reciting poetry by Pakistani poet laureate Faiz Ahmed Faiz. In addition to Stevie Wonder, Sachal Ensemble also covers songs by Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Michael Jackson, and more.

Here’s a statement from James via Rolling Stone: “I was honored to be asked to sing after being so moved hearing the instrumental Sachal version of one of my favorite songs of all time, ‘Love’s in Need of Love Today.’ I feel like it speaks so beautifully to Stevie’s original message of hope, acceptance and love … and keeps it going in a fresh direction … from a completely different background yet still speaking that same message of love that we all need to hear so badly in these confusing times … Yes — love is in need of love today, and luckily there are people on the earth like Stevie Wonder and the Sachal Ensemble here to help spread that love and remind us that we are all united.”

Check out more of Jim James on his website.

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