LONDON, UK. (Top40 Charts/ Hollywood Records) - Many of the world's most powerful and instantly recognisable figures and a concert audience of 46,664 will pay their tributes to one of the world's most loved leaders, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and icon of freedom, Nelson
'Madiba' Mandela, as he turns 90 later this year.
Mr. Mandela will arrive in London in June to take part in a series of events to mark his birthday: a very rare occasion since he is now finally "retired from retirement."
Royalty and politicians from both sides of the Atlantic, leading names from business, sport, film and entertainment - and some of the most successful musicians of the past twenty years - make up the birthday list for three days of celebrations, culminating in a three-hour evening concert in London's Hyde Park on Friday, June 27, The 46664 Concert Honouring Nelson Mandela at 90.
President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Will Smith, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, Robert de Niro and Forest Whitaker are amongst those who will attend some of the events. Lewis Hamilton, British Formula 1 driver for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, will attend his very first 46664 event.
Artists specially invited to perform for Mr. Mandela at the Friday night 90th birthday concert will include Queen + Paul Rodgers, Annie Lennox, Simple Minds, Leona Lewis, the Sugababes, Dame Shirley Bassey, Razorlight, Andrea and Sharon Corr, Eddy Grant, and Jamelia, along with international 46664 Ambassadors Italy's Zucchero and Spain's Amaral.
Joining them to celebrate the life of the world's most respected statesman will be South African and African artists including Johnny Clegg, Sipho Mabuse, multi-South African Music Awards winner Loyiso, Kurt Darren, the Soweto Gospel Choir, Aids orphan choir The Children of Agape - the subject of the award winning film feature 'We Are Together', the legendary Papa Wemba and Sudanese 'war child' rapper Emmanuel Jal.
The concert will feature numerous unexpected appearances, with several major artists keeping silent about their involvement in order to take both Mr. Mandela and the audience by surprise.
Among the specially chosen artists are many whom Nelson Mandela is recognising for having voiced their support for him over the past 20 years, dating back to London's historic Free Mandela concert of June 1988, which called for Mr. Mandela's release from incarceration on Robben Island and which Mr. Mandela has said gave him and his fellow prisoners great inspiration. Simple Minds were instrumental in making the 1988 event happen. Annie Lennox appeared with The Eurythmics and has since become of one of the most active ambassadors for Mr. Mandela's 46664 AIDS organisation.
Lennox, along with Dave Stewart and Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor played a key part in the foundation of 46664 in October 2003. Since then, Queen and Paul Rodgers have gone on to write songs specially for the organisation, including the track "Say It's Not True" from their forthcoming album which the band donated to 46664 for World AIDS Day 2007. With the Corrs, Sharon and Andrea Corr appeared at the inaugural Cape Town concert and together and separately have since participated in further concerts for Mr. Mandela's 46664 charitable organisation. Zucchero has been another stalwart supporter, appearing in the first concert as well as two previous concerts.
Rounding out the twenty years since the Free Mandela event in 1988, the concert will also feature top artists of today including worldwide No.1 artist Leona Lewis and Britain's most successful female group, the Sugababes.
Fundraising events as part of the celebrations will benefit the charitable organisations established by Mr. Mandela: the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, which through their work have sought to bring about change and make a difference to lives in South Africa, Africa and elsewhere over the past 14 years. The concert proceeds will go to the 46664 campaign which raises awareness about the impact of AIDS, especially in Africa, and promotes effective HIV prevention measures throughout the world.
Mr. Mandela said at the announcement of the concert: "You all know that I am supposed to be retired but my friends and the charitable organisations that bear my name want to use my 90th birthday year to raise funds to continue our work and so of course I want to help them. So, we have a bargain - I am going to London and they will host a concert in Hyde Park, which will raise awareness of our continuing work and much needed funds."
As his final public engagement on his visit to the UK, Mr. Mandela's appearance at the concert is sure to be emotional. In stepping down from his campaign work he will use the concert to deliver his message presented in the current 46664 campaign "It's in our hands", that he is handing over the 46664 mantle to each of us to carry forward on his behalf.
The concert has been made possible through the generosity of the private sector to honour Mr. Mandela's 90th birthday. Mercedes-Benz, Zain and Investec lead the companies who have rallied to support the concert with British Airways, Samsung, Intercontinental Hotels, The Westbury, Live Nation and many others also assisting. A special mention also for The Royal Parks who have allowed the concert to take place the night before Hard Rock Calling and who have agreed the sale of a significantly numbered 46,664 tickets for the concert.
For tickets for the 46664 Nelson Mandela 90th birthday concert:
For presale tickets - register by 6pm GMT Tuesday, May 6 at https://www.46664.com.
Tickets on public sale Friday, May 9, at 9am at https://www.livenation.co.uk
General admission tickets are 65.00 pounds Sterling (plus booking fees).