Mandela AIDS Concert Lineup Swells
The list of artists participating in Nelson Mandela's Feb. 2 South African AIDS benefit concert has grown to include a who's who of popular and world music. Among those newly confirmed to appear at the SOS concert to eradicate AIDS are Coldplay, Ludacris, Jimmy Cliff, Femi Kuti, Queen, and Deborah Cox. They join previously announced participants Bono, Macy Gray, and Shaggy for the event, which will be held on Robben Island, where Mandela was incarcerated for nearly two decades as a prisoner of South Africa's apartheid regime.
Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics will serve as the musical coordinator of the event, which will also boast appearances by Joe Strummer (the Clash), Baaba Maal, Eve, Angelique Kidjo, Johnny Clegg, Nelly Furtado, Ms. Dynamite, Lamya, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Bongo Maffin, Vusi Mahlasela, and Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens).
There is no word on who will serve in the place of the late Freddie Mercury as vocalist for Queen. In a statement released by concert organizers, the band's Roger Taylor said only, "We can think of no better time, place, or cause for us to return to the stage."
The main concert will be staged within the walls of the former maximum security prison (now a museum) on Robben Island for approximately 3,000 invited guests, while another "peoples concert" will be concurrently held at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium. Many of the same artists will appear at both venues, while footage from the Robben Island concert will be broadcast during Green Point event.
The concert will also be supported by a global television broadcast, as well as highlights streamed on the Internet via mandelasos.com.
All proceeds will be distributed to the Nelson Mandela Foundations, the Robben Island Museum, the United Nation's (UN) HIV/AIDS program UNAIDS, and the UN's Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.