Lauryn Hill MTV Unplugged

Lauryn Hill MTV Unplugged is an excellent introduction to those that are unfamiliar with this talent and a must have additions to her many fans

Awhile back the cable music station, MTV, took a bold move. They asked popular artists to leave the electric guitars, keyboards and remix devices home and perform before a small audience with only acoustic instruments. The series became MTV Unplugged and it has consistently been the venue for some of the finest music available. Thankfully, MTV with the help of studios like Universal has made some of these performances available on DVD. On of the latest features Lauryn Hill. This is an extremely talented young woman. A few years back Lauryn Hill practically swept awards shows like the MTV video awards and the coveted Grammies. Lauryn Hill deserved each golden trophy she obtained. This disc is an excellent introduction to those that are unfamiliar with this talent and a must have additions to her many fans.

In keeping with the format of the unplugged series Lauryn Hill takes the stage in a simple denim jacket and jeans wearing an acoustic guitar. She interacts directly and often with the audience in a manner that is more like friends chatting than a neo diva commanding the stage. Having grown up listening to music in small Greenwich village coffee houses and college taverns it was a nice blast of nostalgia to have such an environment brought into my living room. The song set was mostly new material that Lauryn Hill presented in a lyrical and simple manner. She opens with ‘Mister Intentional’ and moves on to several ballads and beautiful simple songs. While best known for hip hop Lauryn Hill shows that her talent is not restricted to one genre of music.

Many may know Lauryn Hill from her supporting role in Woopie Goldberg’s ‘Sister Act 2’. While her voice there was still in training it demonstrated the inate talent this young woman possesses. Most of her fame came from her hip-hop fusion band ‘The Fugees’. While many performers require the backup of other talented musicians, Lauryn Hill can hold an audience in rapture all on her own. She sits a few inches away from her audience and speaks from the heart about the events that lead up to her writing the songs she presents. I felt I was back in a college dorm rather than watching a performance.

Joe De Maio directed the disc. He does an excellent job of capturing the intimate feeling of the event. The camera angle is set pretty much on the level of a person in the audience giving the home viewer the feeling of being there. No fancy lighting or special effects ruin this presentation. The sound mix is presented in Dolby 5.1 audio. While the sub woofer is quiet during most of the show the rear speakers provide the feeling of a small room with all the acoustic reverberation required to make you feel at home. This disc is a must have for people that enjoy good music. It is also a great example of how DVD can bring into your home a lot more that space ships and explosions. I highly recommend this disc.

Review by Doug MacLean of

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