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Artists Perform In London To Support Agit8 Anti-Poverty Campaign

posted 12 Jun 2013, 11:37 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 12 Jun 2013, 11:38 ]

Singers Angelique Kidjo, Jamie CullumPaloma Faith and others perform inLondon for the agit8 anti-poverty campaign, which calls for urgent action against extreme poverty in the week leading up to the G8 summit.

 LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 12, 2013) (REUTERS) -  A group of artists performed in London on Wednesday (June 12) to support "agit8", a music-based campaign calling for action against extreme poverty.

Launched by the One Campaign, an anti-poverty group co-founded by Irish rockers Bono and Bob Geldof, "agit8" lined up artists to record new versions of famous protest songs, aiming to put pressure on leaders from the world's richest nations attending the G8 summit in Northern Ireland from June 17-18.

Musicians such as Angelique Kidjo, Jamie CullumPaloma Faith and CountDrachma sang their versions of protest songs on the pop-up stage in front of theTate Modern museum on Wednesday. They were among dozens of artists from around the world - including U2, Will.i.amElvis Costello and Green Day - appearing live and online to raise awareness and urge action to eradicate global poverty.

"'agit8' is a moment of push, for the leaders to keep their promises and for us to keep them accountable," said Angelique Kidjo, who's also a special advisor to agit8.

"If we put an end to extreme poverty and hunger, we're going to grow the economy of all the countries around the world. Because you're going to have a healthier population, you're going to have more educated people, more skilled people to work in different field, and the productivity is going to rise up. I don't know how any leaders in the world can say no to that. I don't know how any business person can say no to this. If you don't have productivity, if you don't have a strong population that can consume and create wealth, then you have nothing," she added.

British singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum chose to perform the song "If I Ruled the World", which was made popular by Tony Bennett and Harry Secombe in the 1960s.

"I would say it's not a traditional protest song. It's almost like a hymn, a hymn for change, a hymn to do good things. And I think it works in a very simplistic level, but it works in a much deeper level as well, as a good protest song should," explained Cullum.

He said he was attracted by the campaign's call for improved transparency in international aid.

"One of the things that really interests me about the agit8 campaign is an encouragement for governments to have a greater transparency for big companies and world corporations on their finances. And I think if there was a greater transparency, then we get to see a lot more where the money is going and where it can be used better. You know, as soon as there's better transparency then, really, we can start to make those changes and people would be aware, and we can start making those changes," said Cullum.

Artists involved in the agit8 campaign hope to inspire through their music a new generation to take action in "the fight against the injustices of extreme poverty and hunger", said the organizers.

"We've got this extraordinary group of artists who've come together with us to make the point to the world that when you protest, it often leads to progress, and protest comes with songs, protest songs. So as we lead up to the crucial days towards the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, we want to get across the message to the politicians who're attending that, that people want to see action on the key issue around ending extreme poverty," said Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director of the One campaign.

Besides musical performances, a film by British filmmaker Richard Curtiscelebrating the importance of protest music throughout history will be projected onto the Tate Modern at night until Thursday (June 13), said the organizers.