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Mandela concert line-up unveiled

BBC News - May 6, 2008

Nelson Mandela
Queen, Leona Lewis, Annie Lennox and the Soweto Gospel Choir are among the acts that will appear at a concert for Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday in June.

The former South African president will travel to London for the 27 June event, which will also feature Dame Shirley Bassey, Simple Minds and Razorlight.

Tickets go on public sale on Friday and Hyde Park will host a crowd of 46,664 - Mr Mandela's old prison number.

It is now the name of his Aids charity, which will get proceeds from the show.

Surprise stars

Organisers have promised further stars on the bill, with "several major artists keeping silent about their involvement in order to take both Mr Mandela and the audience by surprise", a statement said.

Eminem, U2, Amy Winehouse and the Spice Girls are among the other acts who have been mentioned in the press.

The other confirmed performers include Sugababes, Andrea and Sharon Corr, Eddy Grant, Italian star Zucchero and Spainish group Amaral, while Queen will perform with vocalist Paul Rodgers.

British-born, South African-based pop star Johnny Clegg is on the bill, as are a number of other African acts including Sipho Mabuse, Loyiso, Papa Wemba and Emmanuel Jal.

There will also be an appearance by The Children of Agape, a choir of Aids orphans who were the subject of the film We Are Together.

Anybody who registers on the 46664 website before 1800 BST on Tuesday will be able to buy pre-sale tickets from 0900 on Wednesday, before they go on general sale at 0900 on Friday.

When the concert was announced, Mr Mandela said: "You all know that I am supposed to be retired.

"But my friends and the charitable organisations that bear my name want to use my 90th birthday year to raise funds to continue our work and so of course I want to help them.

"So, we have a bargain - I am going to London and they will host a concert in Hyde Park, which will raise awareness of our continuing work and much needed funds."

The concert comes 20 years after the landmark spectacle at Wembley Stadium to call for his release from prison and to mark his 70th birthday.

Eurythmics, Sting, Whitney Houston, Simple Minds and Dire Straits were among the stars who performed at that event on 11 June 1988.

Another concert was held at Wembley after Mr Mandela was released two years later.

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