Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit, Vol. 1 was released earlier this year. Hailing from four different countries, interweaving North American Indie Rock with beats and percussion of Haitian Vodou, Spanish and Malian guitar, Tres Flamenco, with songs in English, Creole, Khassonké, Manding and Spanish, Let the Rhythm Lead celebrates the work of Artists for Peace and Justice in Haiti, and was recorded at the We Are The World Studio A at the Artists Institute on the island's southern coast, in the town of Jacmel.
The segment opened with co-host Herb Trawick asking Jackson Browne how the project came into being. Browne remarked, “It started as a project to demonstrate recording techniques to audio students in Haiti, and it became a band. Then it became a record. We didn’t even know we were making a record until after the first week of recording and realized how quickly it had gone and how much inspiration was there in the room. My second time there, we added Jenny Lewis and Habib Koité (Malian singer and guitar virtuoso).”
“One of the blessings of this whole thing was that the students in this audio institute are really focused people who have finished their high school, and they’re there to become engineers and there to study music,” stated Browne. “And they each are so musical themselves, every time somebody picked anything up, whether it was a shaker or a drum or a bass instrument, you know, they were just magically really good.”
After discussing numerous aspects of the project, Dave Pensado closed the show stating, “When we think of the tropics, we think of peace, relaxation, touristy things, spending money, having great food. And then we leave. But the people that stay there and live there, they have a struggle. They have a hard life, and it’s not a tourist life for them. And the proximity and the juxtaposition of those two things is captured in this album. And it’s also captured by the hearts of these guys that have really put a lot behind helping the people that are down there, and we need to remember just because you go visit and you like it, it doesn’t mean when you leave things get better.”