It was last weekend, 21 -22 July when i, volunteering at the BT River of Music Africa Stage, finally got the real feeling of the coming Olympic games and festive atmosphere taking over London. Serious, producer of BT River of Music event – 6 massive stages around London, each devoted to particular continent – did an excellent job bringing together musicians for 2 days from all 205 nations. Some, in order to travel to London, for the very first time got their passports done; some were booked a very long time ago; some at the end didnt make it because of visa issues; but nevertheless this massive event clearly became Olympics of culture and nations. the only difference from the real Olympics was that here it was not about competition and winning, but about cooperation and togetherness. I heard some of the people in crowd saying that in light of the heavily criticized over-commercialization of Olympics this may be one of the few events which have genuinely been organized by the public (though BT is the general sponsor, this event has been supported also by Arts Council, Big Lottery Fund etc) with public funds and FOR the public.
Africa stage was presenting some of the finest musicians from Africa. Hugh Masekela, Angelique Kidjo, Buika, Staff Benda Bilili, Baaba Maal, King Sunny Ade, Muntu Valdo are names which require no comments.