• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Good early reviews for "stellar cast" on new Voices for Darfur DVD

News Stories, 5 October 2005

© UNHCR/S.Camper
The DVD shows the all-star cast joining together for the finale of the Voices for Darfur Concert.

GENEVA, October 5 (UNHCR) After an initial launch in the U.K., EMI is now rolling out the DVD of a recent all-star charity concert on behalf of refugees from Darfur. Already out in much of Europe, South Africa and Australia, the DVD will also be released in Japan and North America in the coming weeks.

The DVD, which in addition to the Voices for Darfur concert itself features backstage footage and three additional exclusive songs by Sade, David Gray and Franz Ferdinand, is already attracting some high praise from music critics.

In December 2004, some of the music industry's most illustrious artists all of whom are featured on the DVD joined up with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at London's Royal Albert Hall for a special concert to raise funds for the victims of the conflict in Darfur.

Artists who took part in the concert described as "magical" by many in the audience, according to Reuters AlertNet included Chrissie Hynde, Mick Hucknall, Antony Costa, Yusuf Islam, Mario Frangoulis, Deborah Myers, Alison Moyet, Moloko singer Roisin Murphy, Ruthie Henshall, Sir Willard White and the UN refugee agency's long-standing Goodwill Ambassador, Barbara Hendricks.

Early reviews surrounding the U.K. launch of the DVD have in general been very positive: "... It is obviously an incredibly worthy purchase," noted Music Week on 12 September, "and it has also the advantage of drawing some excellent performances from a stellar cast, most of whom elected to perform classic American songs."

The September edition of Record Collector was also very complimentary: "The sincerity of the performers is what raises this above similar events no one is here because they have a single to plug or to pontificate. Each performer shines on the stage: seeing Chrissie Hynde perform the loungey in 'The Still of the Night' is worth the price tag alone. Alison Moyet reaffirms her status as Britain's best-kept secret, but the night belongs to Yusuf Islam's impromptu performance of 'The Little Ones,' a track originally written for the children of Dunblane, which is so right for the occasion."

Sade wrote and recorded her first new track in four years, "Mum," especially for the DVD, accompanied by images from Darfur. David Gray, who had to pull out of the concert due to voice problems, recorded "Ain't No Love" for the DVD.

British band Franz Ferdinand was also unable to attend the concert, but provided a song for the evening, and donated half of their Mercury Music prize money. Coldplay were also unable to attend the concert itself, but made a generous financial contribution.

Critics have praised the technical quality of the DVD, as well as the performances of the singers. "As a DVD package this scores highly as both a sumptuously shot concert and a full to brimming heap of extras of behind-the-scenes preparations for the concert, and documentaries about the conflict itself," was the verdict given in Jazzwise Magazine.

The conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan, which began in early 2003, has now displaced close to 2 million people within Darfur and driven more than 200,000 into neighbouring Chad, where UNHCR has set up 12 camps to care for the refugees.

All profits from the DVD will go to support the UN refugee agency's work in Darfur and Chad.




UNHCR country pages

Battling the Elements in Chad

More than 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fled violence in Sudan's Darfur region, crossing the border to the remote desert of eastern Chad.

It is one of the most inhospitable environments UNHCR has ever had to work in. Vast distances, extremely poor road conditions, scorching daytime temperatures, sandstorms, the scarcity of vegetation and firewood, and severe shortages of drinkable water have been major challenges since the beginning of the operation. Now, heavy seasonal rains are falling, cutting off the few usable roads, flooding areas where refugees had set up makeshift shelters, and delaying the delivery of relief supplies.

Despite the enormous environmental challenges, UNHCR has so far managed to establish nine camps and relocate the vast majority of the refugees who are willing to move from the volatile border.

Battling the Elements in Chad

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Ahead of South Sudan's landmark January 9, 2011 referendum on independence, tens of thousands of southern Sudanese in the North packed their belongings and made the long trek south. UNHCR set up way stations at key points along the route to provide food and shelter to the travellers during their arduous journey. Several reports of rapes and attacks on travellers reinforced the need for these reception centres, where women, children and people living with disabilities can spend the night. UNHCR has made contingency plans in the event of mass displacement after the vote, including the stockpiling of shelter and basic provisions for up to 50,000 people.

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Since fighting broke out in Sudan's western region of Darfur last year, more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad. They are scattered along a 600-km stretch of desert borderland under a scorching sun during the day and freezing temperatures during the night.

Access to these refugees in this inhospitable region is difficult. Staff of the UN refugee agency drive for days to locate them. Bombing in the border zone and cross-border raids by militia from Sudan put the refugees at risk and underscore the urgent need to move them to camps in the interior. In addition, the approach of the rainy season in May will make the sandy roads impassable. Aid workers are racing against time in an attempt bring emergency relief to these refugees.

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Blind Boy's Love of Music
Play video

Blind Boy's Love of Music

Twelve-year-old Dylan fled to northern Iraq with his family for safety. It was very difficult for the boy, who is blind. But his love of music has helped him survive and to forget the sounds of violence in his native Syria.
South Sudan: Helping the Most VulnerablePlay video

South Sudan: Helping the Most Vulnerable

UNHCR comes to the assistance of older, disabled and sickly Sudanese refugees arriving in Yusuf Batil Camp.
Sudan: A Perilous RoutePlay video

Sudan: A Perilous Route

Kassala camp in eastern Sudan provides shelter to thousands of refugees from Eritrea. Many of them pass through the hands of ruthless and dangerous smugglers.