Korea to join in world concert for AIDS

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Korea to join in world concert for AIDS

This weekend, 50 countries will be hosting 200 concerts under the umbrella of One World Beat, a global charity music festival.
For the second annual edition of this festival, Korea is joining countries such as the United States, South Africa, France and Australia. Proceeds will go to Keep a Child Alive, an initiative of Artists Against AIDS Worldwide for children with HIV and AIDS in developing countries.
The scale of each event differs in each city. In South Africa, the festivities last as long as three days. In North Carolina, a radio station will be hosting a three-day Web cast.
In Korea, the event is a more intimate one. About 18 musicians are expected to take the stage Saturday at the Giant Step, a bar in Pohang, North Gyeongsang province. Donations will be taken at the door, and the owner of the Giant Step has also volunteered to donate a percentage of the night’s earnings.
Koreans and expatriates alike will be performing music ranging from traditional folk, hip hop, jazz and original compositions. Performers are coming not just from Pohang, but Seoul and Daegu. The concert will be streamed by video online at www.travelsongs.com and www.nonstopdesign.com, with an audio broadcast on www.radiodevil.com. Organizers expect a full bar with guests from all parts of Korea.
“The experience of helping someone can remain with you a lifetime,” says Randy Wilson, a Canadian organizer in Korea who was also involved with One World Beat last year.
This will be the first time that Kim Myeong-gi, a beat box musician better known as Woogie, is participating in a music benefit. “We’re having fun for a good cause,” he says.
One World Beat started as a dream. Andy Treichler wanted to connect musicians from all over the world to help charities through music. He started the project in his home country of Switzerland, promoting One World Beat through the Internet.
Mr. Treichler got Phil Collins to help promote the event. For the first event last year, musicians in 16 countries organized 50 events.
Last spring, Mr. Wilson, a self-described gypsy, was traveling through Central America, looking up music festivals to play on his way back to Canada.
An eclectic ethnic musician who has studied music from Israel, Bulgaria and Canada, he found One World Beat on the Internet and was drawn to the cause. “It’s music that’s making a difference for people in the world,” Mr. Wilson says.
Mr. Wilson created an informal, impromptu event in Tikal, Guatemala, of 20 people, who sat around a campground singing songs and sharing stories. Funds were not raised, but Mr. Wilson says, “Whether a small event or a large event, it’s another brick in foundation leading up to a better world.”
This year, international organizers hoped to expand the festival by inviting musicians in countries not yet represented, says Mark Roach, the global events coordinator. So when Mr. Wilson moved to Korea in October, One World Beat contacted him to create an event here.
By then, Mr. Wilson was living in Pohang and already involved with a community of musicians. The Giant Step was the ideal venue as the owner has been involved with not-for-profit events in the past.
Internationally, One World Beat has garnered the support of musicians such as Alicia Keys, Sheena Easton and Paula Abdul. The music is a diverse lot, from rock to hip hop to Scottish.
Mr. Roach, who is also a volunteer, calls the festival “a chance for musicians all around the world to be involved in a good cause.”

by Joe Yong-hee

For more information on the festival, visit the Web site at www.oneworldbeat.org.
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