The art of the possible

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The Independent Online

Sir Bob Geldof has worked wonders in getting the Live 8 concert for Africa organised for London on 2 July. But he rightly faces accusations of adopting a patronising attitude to African musicians, following an oddly inappropriate dismissal of the need to include more in the line-up.

Sir Bob Geldof has worked wonders in getting the Live 8 concert for Africa organised for London on 2 July. But he rightly faces accusations of adopting a patronising attitude to African musicians, following an oddly inappropriate dismissal of the need to include more in the line-up.

The idea that none of them is a big enough "global superstar" to warrant inclusion on the stage in Hyde Park, as the events organisers put it, is patently absurd. Without wishing to denigrate any of the more faded attractions on offer by name, this newspaper suggests that artists of the calibre of Baaba Maal of Senegal or Rachid Taha of Algeria should easily have qualified as "big" enough names to warrant an invitation to London.

Twenty years ago, Geldof laid into Western leaders at the 1985 Live Aid concert for showing a parochial, short-sighted attitude to Africa. With only one African featuring in the Live 8 line-up, he lays himself open to similar accusations. Time is running short. With only four weeks to go before the event, he needs to get on the telephone fast and book some more African stars. If not, needless criticism is going to cloud his achievement.

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