A line-up of contemporary South African artists has been announced for MIDEM 2010's opening showcase party on Jan. 24 at the Martinez in Cannes.

The party also kicks off South Africa's "Country of Honour" status at the music industry conference and trade fair, taking place from Jan. 24 to 27 at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes.

Leading the line-up of the "Tribute to the Legends" two-stage show is indie-pop outfit the Parlotones, whose fourth studio album "Stardust Galaxies" (Sovereign Entertainment) racked up platinum sales (40,000) in the first month of its release this year.

They will be joined on the main stage at the Martinez by hotshot Afro-influenced hip-hop duo Jozi (a shorthand term for Johannesburg), as well as Zulu Boy, a nominee in the 2009 South African Music Awards for best hip-hop album for "Inqolobane" (Native Rhythm Records).

Live favourite Tidal Waves is expected to take a central role in a tribute to the murdered reggae artist Lucky Dube, while other artists to be featured include Xhosa Afro-roots solo artist Thandiswa, and Afrikaans music superstar Kurt Darren. All except Tidal Waves and the Parlotones will be supported by a South African backing band, directed by jazz pianist and composer Themba Mkhize.

The second stage at the opening party will feature Afro-Soul artist and multi South African Music Award-winner Lira, along with South African Music Awards-nominated flautist Wouter Kellerman.

Two of South Africa's high-profile DJs, Black Coffee and DJ Christos, will be spinning fully South African tunes during the show. Glenn Masokoane, the director of cultural development in the SA government's department of arts and culture (DAC) told a news briefing that among the "legends" to be recognised at the Jan. 24 show will be Dube, late Afro-pop star Brenda Fassie and Jabu Khanyile of the seminal Afro-roots act Bayete. A private VIP function on Jan. 25 will pay tribute to the late South African singer Miriam Makeba.

"We are very proud to launch this year's 44th edition of MIDEM with South Africa at MIDEM 2010, celebrating Africa's Music, and [this will] enable all our participants to appreciate the huge scope of talented artists from this culturally diverse and rich country," said Dominque Leguern, MIDEM Director, in a statement.

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