Big names get ready for FIFA concert

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Johannesburg - Organisers of the FIFA pre-kickoff celebration concert, taking place at Orlando Stadium on Thursday, have promised the ceremony will be nothing short of the party of the decade.

This, as some of the top names in the music industry arrived in South Africa this week ahead of the concert.

Several of the top international artists who will be performing were paraded at Soccer City Stadium on Wednesday much to the excitement of the fans who went there to catch a glimpse of the likes of the American band, the Black Eyed Peas. The concert will be broadcast to millions of viewers worldwide and it's the first of this magnitude to be organised by FIFA.

The artists who lined up the pitch at the iconic Soccer City Stadium included popular United States R&B singer John Legend, Nigeria's Angelique Kijo, the Black Eyed Peas, South Africa's own Vusi Mahlasela, Freshly Ground, Lira, the Soweto Gospel Choir and rock band the Parlotones. Alicia Keys and Hugh Masekela could not make it to the field as they were still busy with their rehearsals.

Legend, known among female fans as "The love legend" described the feeling of performing at the concert associated with Africa's first soccer world cup as "a dream come true" for him. "I'm very excited. Iit's hard to describe the feeling, you know. The great thing about music is that it brings people together. Music is a universal language and sports are universal and it's only fitting that we do this concert," Legend said.

Female fans did not waste any time openly showing their admiration when they broke out into the popular I'm ready to go right now. While it was not his first time in South Africa, Legend said the concert symbolised something very special in his career as it came on the eve of the first ever FIFA World Cup to be played on African soil.

Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas is also thrilled to be in South Africa and the audience is sure to swoon at the stunning Fergie. "We love football and we love music and coming here means so much to us; it means the world," he said.

No doubt that one of the collaborations the audience will surely be looking forward to is that of Freshly Ground and the Argentinean song stress Shakira.

Freshly Ground's Zolani said the group had been working very hard in the past few weeks and have promised a stunning performance to drive the Orlando Stadium wild. "It's going to be fantastic. We are so looking forward to do the collaboration with Shakira in our own country. Its going to be wonderful," said Zolani.

Mahlasela said the millions of viewers who will be glued to their TV screen will witness an African show like never before. "We going to do it the African way and those who will be here will feel at home. It gives us pleasure to welcome you in Africa and there is no better way to do it than through music."

Meanwhile, Head of FIFA TV division, Nicolas Maingot said the world football body has commissioned several players who will act as presenters during the concert.

"The players will introduce the artists and performances. It's going to be big, bigger that the academy awards," he said. Maingot refused, however to name the players, only saying the first to present will be "a well known Bafana Bafana star".

The concert starts at 4pm with a live broadcast for television stations worldwide scheduled to start at 8pm.

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