Benefit CDs and benefit songs are commendable—and common—efforts.
Benefit CDs and benefit songs are commendable—and common—efforts. But Voices of Hope, the album that brings together a plethora of Latin and non-Latin artists to benefit the Sabera Foundation in Calcutta, breaks the mold in several ways, primarily because much of the material was composed and recorded specifically for this project. The disc's starting point—"Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot"—which features Sting performing with flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo and the Sabera Foundation Girls (the foundation provides music lessons to children in Calcutta), offers a blueprint for an album in which virtually every song is imbued with special meaning. Equal parts taste and sincerity, the concept doesn't degenerate into preachiness but instead soars, particularly in "Qué Bonito" (Rosario), "Offer" (Alanis Morrisette), and "La Aurora de Nueva York," performed by Antonio Banderas, Alejandro Sanz, and Vicente Amigo. The final touch are the performances by the Sabera Foundation Girls, incorporated here as duets with multiple stars, in such a manner that they become musical statements and not merely gestures.—LC