Black Eyes Peas, John Legend and Juanes attended a South African media launch today (June 9) for the June 10 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration Concert. Fergie from B.E.P. even managed to kick one of the official match balls despite wearing heels.
Artists performing at the concert turned up to kick a line-up of official match balls (called 'Jabulani' and designed for this tournament) on the pristine pitch of Soweto's Soccer City, where the opening and closing matches of the month-long tournament will be held.
K'Naan summed up the feeling of those present by saying, "We talk a lot about what Africa is gaining from the World Cup being here but I really think we need to focus on what the world is gaining from [it] being in Africa."
The Canadian-based artist's reworked version of the "Troubadour" (A&M/Octone, 2009) album track "Wavin' Flag," known as the 'Celebration Mix', has been ushering the official cup to South Africa via a Coca-Cola sponsored global tour that took 225 days, and covered 84 countries.
An emotional K'Naan said traveling to 22 countries in Africa as part of the trophy tour made him "the go-to guy for all things African" in the West.
"When I discovered Africa in all its vastness and beauty and incredible different cultures, from Eritrea to Swaziland, I realized that there was so much more to know," he added.
This was echoed by Legend who said "the great thing about music and the great thing about sport - especially football - is that it is global".
"I am excited to be part of this huge global event where we get to see everyone come together and transcend all the boundaries of country, race and culture to unite together," Legend said.
At a daily FIFA briefing earlier, Control Room founder, Kevin Wall confirmed all the international artists had arrived in Johannesburg - including Alicia Keys, Shakira and Mali's acclaimed duo Amadou & Mariam.
Wall promised "great moments where international artists will be performing some unique songs or redone songs with African artists for the first time." U.S.-based Control Room is producing the concert.
The kick-off concert is the first ever staged by FIFA ahead of a World Cup. It takes place at the refurbished Orlando Stadium in Soweto a global live broadcast from 8:00 pm local time.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup takes place from June 11 to July 11. Confirmation came from FIFA today that R. Kelly will perform the official 2010 FIFA World Cup Anthem, "Sign of a Victory," taken from Sony Music's "Listen Up: the Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album," at the June 11 opening ceremony at Soccer City. South African kwaito trio TKZee will perform their late '90s hit "Shibobo" (meaning to dribble), which included a guest vocal from South African soccer player and current West Ham United team member Benni McCarthy.