Among the many highlights of the Jackson Browne–spearheaded Artists for Peace and Justice compilation Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit Vol. 1 that drops today is Haitian songwriter Paul Beaubrun’s relaxed, reggae-infused track “Surrender,” which features songwriting contributions from Browne. Embellishing a tracklist already boasting fresh songs from Jenny Lewis, Lazou Mizik, Habib Koité, Raúl Rodríguez, Jonathan Russell, and Jonathan Wilson, Beaubrun was, in many ways, instrumental in bringing the record together.
“[Paul] wrote ‘Surrender’ in English, inspired by the songs being recorded in the Song Summit sessions,” Browne explains. “Paul became the bass player of choice for all the songwriters there, and he is the reason we were able to collaborate with the great Haitian players we met. I played with the language a little, but the song is his. The central idea—that to conquer adversity we must surrender to a higher power—is central to people of faith everywhere.”
In Beaubrun’s own words, “Surrender” is “a journey within, a journey of letting go of the past and living your life to the fullest in the present. A journey in learning to let go and let love guide you through the ups and downs.” Equally full of love is the song’s video, which sees Beaubrun and his band performing in a studio, while Beaubrun wanders Caribbean landscapes engaging with the locals, its beautifully shot scenes documenting the artist’s adoration for his land and its people.
“‘Surrender’ is a song of hope and resilience, and the deep desire for self determination in the hearts and minds of the people of Haiti,” Browne concludes. “Singing and playing with Paul is to be plugged into the mainframe at the most fundamental level, and taken to the heights.”