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by Sarah Ingrams, Reporter
Thursday, July 19, 2012
A two-day musical spectacular is taking place in venues across the capital this weekend as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
With just one week to go until the Olympic Games begin, the BT River of Music will host musicians from the 205 Olympic and Paralympic nations.
The free event will see headline acts including the Scissor Sisters and Beverly Knight serenade the crowd on six stages, which represent different continents.
Suzi Williams, director, BT Group Marketing and Brand, said it will be a “unique and exciting” weekend.
“It became really obvious really early on that a lot of people wouldn’t get into the Park. We wanted to get involved with things that gave a maximum number of opportunities to get involved.
“This project stood out as the idea is that you get the world in one city. It is the weekend the world is arriving in London.
“If you go to one of these stages you might go to see the Scissor Sisters but you’d also see a bunch of things you’re never see. How many people would seek out The All Russian Big Band?
“It’s everything the Games is about, and also BT. This project brings us together. Although it’s only two days it’s going to be great.”
The closest stage to East London is in the London Pleasure Gardens, Docklands which will have an African theme. Indie-rock band The Noisettes will perform with two young girls from Malawi.
Grace and Madalo will travel to London for the first time after Noisettes singer Shingai Shoniwa admired their voices in 2010 and vowed to work with them.
Member of their school choir, the girls developed a love for music from their father who died of AIDS.
Senegalese singer and guitarist Baaba Maal, who is currently headlining the Southbanks Centre’s Utopia Festival, will close the stage on Saturday night.
Other stages, presenting a kaleidoscope of contemporary music, are in Somerset House, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, Battersea Park and the Old Naval College in Greenwich.
Around half a million people are expected to take advantage of the free weekend’s events and tickets, available from http://www.btriverofmusic.com