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15 juin 2005

African-Only Live 8

Eden Project to Stage African-Only Live 8 Concert

Wed 15 Jun 2005 4:42pm (UK)

Midge Ure and Peter Gabriel announced details today of an African-only Live 8 concert to be held at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Africa Calling will take place on July 2 at the same time as the main event in Hyde Park.The concert, hosted by Gabriel and Senegalese star Youssou N’Dour, will feature a bill made up entirely of African artists.

Bob Geldof and the Live 8 organisers have been criticised for omitting African artists from the Hyde Park line-up.Blur frontman Damon Albarn said the bill, featuring Madonna, Sir Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams, was “so damn Anglo-Saxon”.

And Gabriel, founder of Womad (World Of Music, Art and Dance), said he agreed. “I talked to Bob about it and I do think it would be better to have a larger African presence in Hyde Park,” he told a press conference in London.

“He made the point that in places like China, for example, if there’s an act that comes on the TV that they don’t know – whether from Africa or Germany – they may well switch off. He wants to keep people watching.

“I don’t agree that’s the right criteria but there it is.”

But Gabriel said the Eden Project concert would give African artists an opportunity to be heard. He said: “We have a chance to do more to redress the balance. Africa Calling will be about voices of Africa undiluted.

“The artists will get the opportunity, because the event isn’t televised, to speak more freely and play longer sets. So I think there are advantages from separating it, although it wouldn’t have been my first choice.”

But African performer Angelique Kidjo said she had no problem with the Hyde Park line-up.Why are we having this controversy?” she asked. “They are big rock and roll stars and without them we would not have the media interest. What is important is that we all work together against poverty.”

Ure said he planned initially for the African artists to appear at Scotland’s Murrayfield gig on July 6. “When Bob very unceremoniously announced a few weeks ago that I was in charge of Live 8 for Scotland, my first move was to approach Womad. I have done many Womad concerts and they are fantastic events.Initially I asked for them to put African artists on the bill in Edinburgh and this has grown from that idea.”

The Africa Calling concert will be held on the stage in the Eden Arena with the world’s biggest greenhouses as the backdrop.Eden Project founder Tim Smit said: “We are very excited to feel part of something which we hope will be historic.“We hope it will be an event at which people say, ’I was there and I will remember it until the day I die’.”

Transmissions will be made from the event by the BBC as part of the Live 8 celebrations.The bill will include famous African names including Maryam Mursal, Salif Keita and Thomas Mapfumo.

N’Dour hopes to echo Phil Collins at the original Live Aid by performing in Cornwall, London and Paris. Ticket details will be announced in the next few days.

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