Monday, July 04, 2005

Why I didn't watch Live8

How can you organise a musical event to raise consciousness about Africa and issues of development and then ignore African artists? Emmanuel Jal commented, in the Grauniad:
Jal, who has topped the charts in Kenya where he is still a refugee, confronted Bob Geldof when he met him in the UK. "He said to me you have to sell more than 4m records to come and perform at Hyde Park," Jal said. "He said that people in China will not want to listen to my music because they do not know me.

"I like the spirit behind this - helping the poor - but when I look at him [Geldof] it looks like he is making history by using the poor people. Years ago, he helped the Ethiopians but this time he lost my respect."

Jal said he received calls from similarly disillusioned Africans. "Thousands of people will think this day is about making pop stars more famous and creating a name for themselves out of poor Africans. Africans are complaining why aren't African performers there to represent them? The idea is good but making poverty history in a concert is not going to happen."
I'm with Andy Kershaw who described the African event at the Eden Project as "musical apartheid".

Some of us like new music. Expanding musical horizons. Breaking genres. We want what we don't know. We switch off when we get the same-o same-o.

Where were bands like Tiniwaren?

You can't help feeling that many of the audience in Hyde Park would have turned up for a similar luvvie-fest if it was for Elton John's new swimming toupee. The gig was the main draw. The campaign came second. This was supported by reports of the BBC cutting away from any information films shown in Hyde Park (the politics). So for the audience away from Hyde Park it was just another pop concert making poverty among mega selling rock stars history.

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