Albarn snubs 'Anglo-Saxon' Live8

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Damon Albarn has said he will not perform at Live8 after he criticised the line-up for the charity concerts for being too "Anglo-Saxon".

The Blur and Gorillaz star had been announced as one of the performers in the Scottish show on 6 July.

But he launched a withering attack on the event in a radio interview yesterday morning and last night a spokesman for Albarn confirmed: "Damon will not be appearing at the Live8 event on the 6th."

He plans instead to arrange a performance of African artists in a pod of the London Eye to "to explore the diversity and the intelligence of Africa and not just its poverty".

Albarn was asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme if he would be taking part. He said: "No. I am not. I haven't even been asked ... I don't want to take part in an event that is so exclusive. Is this the most effective way to help Africa?"

He said the lack of black artists was "the greatest oversight" which undermined the whole project.

"This country is incredibly diverse. More than ever, black culture is an integral part of society, so why is the bill so damn Anglo-Saxon?

"If you are holding a party on behalf of people, then surely you don't shut the door on them. It's insensitive and it also perpetuates this idea that Africa is separated in some way. In a way Live 8 does that - it doesn't make you feel closer to Africa, it treats it like it's a failing, ill, sick, tired place."

Albarn also said there should be pressure on record companies to give money to the cause because the artists involved would enjoy increased sales from appearing at Live8: "It is without question that all the artists that play will enjoy increased record sales."

Albarn's criticism prompted an angry response from Live8, which told the singer to "check his facts". A spokesman said: "Bob Geldof's intention was to get headline-grabbing shows full of people who fill stadiums and arenas. This is not Womad [the world music festival]. We are not doing an arts festival."

The spokesman added that there was a large "urban element" to the shows. "Snoop Dogg is playing in London and Youssou N'Dour is playing in both Paris and London," he said. Ms Dynamite, will also play in the London concert at Hyde Park.

None of the three acts was in the original line-up released on 31 May.

The spokesman also stressed the participation of black acts at other Live 8 concerts around the world: "We have 50 Cent, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z along with U2 and Coldplay."