Centrefold: Rocking for Rwanda: Notting Hill's DJs sets aims to ease the suffering

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Indy Lifestyle Online
You can't have missed the barrage of news coverage about the war and destruction in Rwanda. But unless you are Eon John, you won't have reacted by harnessing the great and the good of west London in a bid to do something about it.

The former lead singer of Honeychild, and frontman for Wee Bee Jammin, John (right), decided to act after seeing TV reports about the plight of the Rwandan people. He has spent the past few weeks contacting everyone he could think of (mostly from Notting Hill, where he lives), and the fruits of his labour can be seen on Friday as Artists for Rwanda - 11 bands and five DJs - gather at Notting Hill's Tabernacle to raise money for the Red Cross. Among those appearing are Oui3, Don-E, Maxi-Jazz, Osibisa and Silver, as well as Wee Bee Jammin, with the whole event being kicked off by the Ebony Steel Band. The DJs include Ruffneck, Blacka-T and Brother Culture.

John, 28, is keen for the bulk of the money to be spent on water purification units but he would also like some of it to go to irrigation 'to help those people moving back to sort the land out and to give them back their self-respect'.

As well as the concert, there is also a raffle for which local businesses have provided prizes, including one day's free studio time, hundreds of pounds worth of clothes vouchers, designer drinking glasses and a case of fine wine.

John sees the event as more than just a chance to raise money. 'Our aim is to stop this sort of thing from happening instead of jumping in and trying to help them after it has happened.'

Future plans depend on the success of Friday's event but a national raffle is a possibility. John acknowledges that Rwanda's problems 'can't be solved in one fell swoop' and admits that charity fatigue may come into play. 'But a lot of riches have come to this country as the result of centuries of oppression,' he says. 'At some point, people have to say 'this is enough', and try to make some kind of redress because we have benefited so much from so much suffering.'

Artists for Rwanda: 7pm-1am Fri 16 Sept at Tabernacle, Powis Sq, Notting Hill, W11 (071-243 4343). Tickets pounds 10 from Tabernacle, or from Rough Trade, 130 Talbot Rd, W11 and Dub Vendor, 150 Ladbroke Grove, W10. Raffle tickets pounds 1 each. Further details from Artists for Rwanda, PO Box 5707, Ladbroke Grove, W10

(Photograph omitted)

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