By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated January 20, 2010 at 09:57 PM EST

Rihanna stopped by this afternoon’s episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was devoted to the disaster in Haiti, to perform a cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” You can download her live cover now from the iTunes Music Store for $1.29, with proceeds going to the Hope for Haiti Now telethon that she and others will participate in this Friday. So how was it?

Not bad. Rihanna stayed true to the feel of Marley’s original at first, taking the song as an acoustic dirge with a mournful organ part. By the time she got to the second verse (“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery”), though, she had shifted the tempo and arrangement in a more upbeat direction, where they stayed through the song’s conclusion — making “Redemption Song” into a Rihanna tune, in other words. As for Rihanna’s singing, she’s never had the strongest live voice, and her limitations showed here at times. But given the somber context, it felt appropriate for her voice to crack slightly.

Did you watch Rihanna on Oprah? What did you think of her “Redemption Song”? Download it from iTunes, then let us know.

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