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Press Release 99/75

1999 TELEFOOD CONCERT SET FOR JAMAICA FEATURES MUSIC WITH AFRICAN ROOTS


Rome, 1 December 1999 -- The crowning event of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO's) TeleFood Campaign this year is a three hour concert to be broadcast around the world December 4, 1999, from Jamaica's James Bond Beach in Ocho Rios. The line-up of internationally known stars will offer the irresistible beats, smooth rhythms and traditional drums of Latin American and Caribbean music with African roots.

In issuing a joint appeal for support of the TeleFood Concert, the Rt.Hon. Percival Patterson, Prime Minister of Jamaica, and Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO, referred to the global telecast as "using music to vehicle a message to create public awareness, solidarity and hope for the hungry."

FAO, the UN's largest specialized agency, is committed to reducing the number of hungry people in the world -- a number that is now estimated at 824 million, 790 million are in the developing world. Realizing that ending hunger cannot be done by governments alone, activities such as TeleFood allow the Organization to reach a wider audience with its message of "Food for All".

Music lovers will be able to view the concert on television, thanks to a number of satellite companies, including IntelSat and PanAmSat which are providing TV stations worldwide free access to their satellite signal. More than 80 TV stations and radio organizations will broadcast the concert. A Webcast will be available through the FAO homepage (http://www.FAO.org) for 30 days after the concert.

The mainstay of the concert will be music of the African diaspora, with reggae, calypso and soca from the English-speaking countries, salsa and merengue from the Spanish-speaking, beguine and zouk from the francophone islands, plus the sounds of Brazil and contemporary Africa itself. More than 20 groups have committed to donating their time and talent to the event.

James Bond Beach is also part of the story. It is owned by record mogul Chris Blackwell whose Island Records polished the reggae beat of Jamaica's unique music and released it to the world in the 1970s. Jamaica's own Jimmy Cliff, who was one of reggae's first breakthrough artists, heads the list of Caribbean performers. Gilberto Gil, who won this year's Grammy Award for World Music, will bring the popular music of Brazil to the stage.

Representing the African continent are singer Miriam Makeba and horn player Hugh Masekela, who are both legendary South African performers. Ms. Makeba was recently named an FAO Ambassador and has pledged to donate her time and talent whenever needed to make people aware of the problems of hunger in the world.

"FAO is not an organization that gives a piece of banana and a piece of bread to people and then walks away," said Ms. Makeba.

"FAO takes time to train and to teach people how to help themselves for the next day, and the next day. Someone who gives you a piece of bread today and walks away is not someone who really loves you."

The two previous TeleFood initiatives, in 1997 and 1998, raised $4 million which provided funds for 463 projects in 96 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. All TeleFood donations are invested in small grassroots projects that allow the rural poor and other vulnerable groups to improve their food production and their access to food.

"Only a broad mobilization of public and private commitment and collective and individual resources can deflect the course of history," said Dr. Diouf, in appealing for the support of TeleFood's humanitarian objectives.

Following is a list of the stars who will appear in the TeleFood 1999 concert.

Barbados: Square One
Brazil: Gilberto Gil
Cuba: Septeto Habanero
Haiti: Koudjay, Boukman Eksperyans
Jamaica: Jimmy Cliff, Marcia Griffiths, Word, Beenie Man, Morgan Heritage, Luciano, Ernie Ranglin, gospel group Grace Thrillers
Senegal: Coumba Gowlo
South Africa: Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela
Trinidad and Tobago: Calypso legend David Rudder, the Trinidad and Tobago Steel Orchestra.
USA: Jamaican-born jazz pianist Monty Alexander and gospel group Sounds of Blackness.

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More information on the concert is available on the FAO Web site at:
http://www.fao.org/Food/index-e.asp?ch_lang=en
http://www.fao.org/Food/satel1-e.asp

Radio & video material will be available on request 30 days after the Concert.

For further information and request of video & audio material please contact:
Richard Tedesco, tel: (39) 06.5705 4728; Liliane Kambirigi, tel: (39) 06.5705 3223/6863 and Pina del Lama, tel: (39) 06.5705 6515.


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©FAO, 1999