Carla Bruni serenades an absent Mandela
Celebrities turn out to perform for South African statesman's anti-Aids charity – and a star-studded audience
Monday 20 July 2009
Carla Bruni sang the pacifist anthem "Blowin' in the Wind" in her first public concert since she became the French First Lady in a star-studded concert for Nelson Mandela at the weekend.
A nervous-looking Ms Bruni, accompanied by The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, won thunderous applause from an equally-celebrity-filled audience, which included her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, in the Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Ms Bruni had pledged that she would not make live appearances while she was First Lady of France but made an exception for the Mandela jamboree to mark the veteran anti-apartheid campaigner's 91st birthday.
Making her American concert debut, she said that she had chosen the Bob Dylan number as a "song by another famous activist".
She also sang a ballad of her own, "Quelqu'un m'a Dit" [Someone Told Me], which she announced, in English, was "not good for dancing. But it's good for dreaming." Among the other performers at the charity concert included Gloria Gaynor, Aretha Franklin and Cyndi Lauper.
The guest of honour was absent because his doctors have advised him not to travel long distances. The concert marked the first Mandela Day. The organisers, the Mandela Foundation, hope this will be celebrated annually on the South African leader's birthday to raise money for his anti-Aids charity and to remember his achievements.
Supporters were encouraged to give 67 minutes of the day for charitable work – 67 being the number of years that Mr Mandela worked for racial equality in South Africa. His campaign is called Campaign 46664 – his prison number while in jail.
There is no precedent for the First Lady of a large country singing at a pop concert. Ms Bruni looked somewhat unsure how to behave. She wore a chic black trouser suit and strummed her guitar but radiated a kind of political aloofness rather than a rock musician's bonhomie.
President Sarkozy and his wife and a posse of bodguards left the hall soon just after her performance to catch a plane back to Paris. She therefore missed the grand finale: Stevie Wonder singing "Happy Birthday".
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Russell T Davies wants your 'sexcapades' for new web series Tofu about modern sex culture
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Panic! At The Disco donate $1000 to gay rights group after Westboro Baptist Church picket
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains