Masekela and Simon reunite over Darfur
LEGENDARY musicians Hugh Masekela and Paul Simon - who played together in the controversial Graceland tour of 1986 - are to reunite in a series of concerts aimed at prompting politicians to end the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Beginning next month with a concert in New York, the pair will launch a worldwide tour, with the support of other musicians including the singers Youssou N´Dour and Angelica Kidjo. The first performance is set to coincide with a meeting of the UN heads of state on September 25.
´It will be targeted at people who can be effective,´ said Masekela, who is in Edinburgh for a concert at the Queen´s Hall tonight as part of the Fringe. ´We want to get the heads of state and ministers and say to them, ´This is serious. You have to do something about it.´´
Sudan´s government and the pro-government Arab militias are accused of war crimes against Darfur´s black African population. An estimated 250,000 people have died, with two million more living in refugee camps.
´Are we going to sit around and watch another Rwanda, and just sigh, ´This is bad,´´ said Masekela, who is an African Union goodwill ambassador for Darfur. ´I called Paul and said, ´I´m working with the Darfur people - I need your help.´ He said, ´You just tell me what it is and I´ll be there.´
´We will do the concert in a place where we can get 500 people or so - and focus on people who can do something about it. Then we want to do a tour and hope it helps.´
Masekela, 68, has never shied away from controversy. His song Bring Him Back Home became an anthem of the campaign to free Nelson Mandela, but his involvement with Simon´s Graceland tour brought accusations of breaking a cultural boycott of South Africa.