Press Release


22 May 2001

    France’s Massilia Sound System also to Perform at Free Concert
    in City’s Plainpalais

    Strength in diversity will be the rallying call as World Music star Natacha Atlas and France’s Massilia Sound System join the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in celebrating the struggle against racism with a free concert in Geneva’s Plaine de Plainpalais on Friday, 1 June 2001.

    “Music brings people together like no other art form does, and the artists involved in this exciting event bridge cultural, ethnic and racial divides as only a few can do”, High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary-General of the World Conference against Racism Mary Robinson said today while announcing the concert. “The work of Natacha Atlas and Massilia is the strongest evidence of the wealth that can spring forth when diversity is embraced rather than feared”, she continued.

    The “Geneva United against Racism” concert -- organized with the support of the authorities of the city and Canton of Geneva, the Swiss Federal Government and private sponsors -- will come at the end of a meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the World Conference. Durban, South Africa, will host the World Conference from 31 August to 7 September 2001.

    Natacha Atlas burst onto the international music scene in the early 1990s with the British-based group Transglobal Underground. Her music mixes European, North African and Middle Eastern influences to intoxicating effect. In her work, “motion and emotion establish a common ground where contemporary electronic dance rhythms dovetail elegantly with traditional Middle Eastern syncopation, instrumentation and Atlas’s lilting trilling vocals”. (Rolling Stone magazine, 7 May 2001).

    Drawing much of their inspiration from the music of Jamaica, Massilia Sound System’s songs deliver a message of tolerance and respect while moving the listener irresistibly to the dance floor. The members of Massilia manage a successful blend of the traditional music of the Occitan region of southern France and two of Jamaica’s most famous exports, reggae and ragamuffin.

    For further information on the concert or the World Conference, or to request interviews with the artists, please contact Véronique Taveau on Tel: +41 22 917 9305, +41 79 477 0852 (mobile), vtaveau.hchr@unog.ch; or José Díaz, on +41 22 917 9242, +41 79 217 3009 (mobile), jdiaz.hchr@unog.ch.

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