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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record
Music, testimony and dance in the GA Hall
26 March 2009 / 04:26

[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]

Blind Boys of Alabama | Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten (362379)Attendees at Wednesday night’s cultural event were treated to a moving tribute to the victims of the transatlantic slave trade as over 30 artists ranging from musicians Salif Keita and Gilberto Gil to actors Whoopi Goldberg and Phylicia Rashad performed in the General Assembly Hall.

The concert was one of the highlights of the 2009 Commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

As part of the commemoration, Emmy Award-winning musician Peter Buffett and Senegalese-American hip-hop star Akon debuted a new song, “Blood into Gold,” with the help of legendary music producer Nile Rodgers, who performed several times throughout the night.

Gilberto Gil, Peter Buffet and Akon | Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (362287)Earlier in the day, at a press conference with some of the other performers and event producers, Akon said, “I love it when we all come together with all generations, all genres, all countries to create and ignite a positive spark on today’s generation.”

The evening began with traditional drummers from Cameroon followed by the Blind Boys of Alabama who sang traditional spiritual music.

A short musical extract is available as an archived webcast.

Carl Lewis | Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (362377)Musical acts and performances alternated with readings of historic documents and poetry related to the evening’s theme.  Readers included Olympic athlete Carl Lewis and playwright, poet and Actress Sarah Jones.

Actress and television personality Whoopi Goldberg read the Emanicipation Proclamation, sharing the stage with the original document signed by Abraham Lincoln.

Some of the other performers were American Soprano Angela Brown, Haiti’s Emeline Michel and Curaçao’s Izaline Calister and Jamaica’s Ky-mani Marley who gave a moving rendition of his father’s hit Redemption Song.

CCH Pounder and Eric Falt via UN Webcast Actress CCH Pounder and Department of Public Information (DPI) Outreach Director Eric Falt shared master of ceremonies duties. 

The event was produced by the not-for-profit group Culture Project and the commemoration was organized by DPI.

In related news, Buffett and Akon re-launched a social networking web site to coincide with the event.  The site is called and serves as a place for people to share stories of how they’re making a difference.  Slavery and human trafficking will be the site’s featured subject through the end of April.


Drummers from Cameroon | Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (362376) Salif Keita with performers | Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (362376)

Gilberto Gil | Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (362383) Ky-mani Marley | Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (362380)

Previously on iSeek

Silence broken in memory of slave trade victims

Drum beats to add rhythm to events at UNHQ this week