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Live 8 DVD Special Pt I

Live 8 at Eden: Africa Calling DVD

by Kevin Wierzbicki

We kick off this special series coverage of the Live 8 DVD releases with a review of the separate release of Live 8 at Eden: Africa Calling, the concert that sadly received the least amount of coverage during the Live 8 event. Kevin Wierzbicki tells us about what we missed and how we can now witness some of the exceptional performances that took place. In the coming weeks we will also be reviewing the Live 8 Boxset that features performances from other cities during the Live 8 event . But we start with this event which deserved a release all its own. We'll now let Kevin tell you why! 

Very little of this portion of Live 8, featuring African music, was actually broadcast during the anti-poverty extravaganza. Certainly time constraints are understandable, but it is sad that the general viewing public didn't have a chance to see this incredible material as it went down. But this double-disc DVD captures the intensity of the performances nicely along with the spirit of the event. Taped at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England and MC'd by long time advocate of African music Peter Gabriel, Africa Calling offers a wide variety of music over its approximate three hour run. Most of the artists are represented by only one song, ranging in style from the chants of drum troupe Modou Diouf and O Fogum (Senegal) to a fado cut from Mariza, a native of Mozambique who grew up in Portugal. Mariza is as stunning in appearance as she is vocally, dressed all in black with a shock of blonde hair atop her lanky frame. Geoffrey Oryema performs "Land of Anaka" in English with a little help from Gabriel but also sings in his native Acholi for "Lapowny." Acholi is one of the African dialects that use the "clicking sound" and it is mesmerizing to listen to Oryema sing in the tongue. Some of the better known acts like Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited and Youssou N'Dour et Le Super Etoile get enough time for more than one song, and getting a three song block is Tinariwen, from Mali. These guys are sort of the Grateful Dead of Africa, playing extended jams of Touareg music. They use traditional instruments and modern electric as well and even have a left-handed bass player that plays a right-handed bass upside-down. The large group dresses in Berber gowns and headwear and exudes an amazing clarity and serenity. The show ends with a couple of Afri-rappers, Emmanuel Jal from Sudan and Daara J from Senegal. Many other African musicians appear, as do Dido and former prisoner/president Nelson Mandela. Fans of modern African music and world beat will absolutely love this film.

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