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Masekela to perform at kickoff concert

May 4, 2010
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG -- Renowned South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela was included by FIFA in a new lineup for the World Cup's Kick-off concert on Tuesday after initial plans were criticized for ignoring local artists.

FIFA and US-based concert producers Control Room said Masekela, Freshlyground and the Soweto Gospel Choir would join international stars like Shakira and Black Eyed Peas in the June 10 event at Soweto's Orlando Stadium.

Shakira and Freshlyground recently released FIFA's official World Cup song, "Waka Waka -- Time for Africa," which has had a mixed reception in South Africa.

The Soweto-based Mzansi Youth Choir and Somali hip hop artist K'Naan, who lives in Canada, have also been added to the lineup.

Speaking from Britain, where he was on tour, Masekela told The Associated Press he would also appear at the World Cup opening ceremony on June 11 at the Soccer City stadium.

But the 71-year-old Grammy award winner said he regarded the Kick-off concert and the World Cup as "a passing show."

"I'm more concerned with life in South Africa after the World Cup," Masekela told the AP. "After 300 years of history, I don't think the World Cup can change the lives of South Africans too much."

FIFA and local organizers have labeled the tournament "an African World Cup," but FIFA and Los Angeles' Control Room announced in March the official pre-tournament show would be headlined by Colombian pop singer Shakira, and American performers Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys and John Legend.

South Africa's Ministry of Arts and Culture said the first lineup was "unacceptable" and called for the performers to be more representative of the host country.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press