Out of Tune: John Legend, Alicia Keys and the Black Eyed Peas Performing at World Cup

South African artists complain about top billing for American performers.

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Local performers warm up for the World Cup. Getty Images (AFP)

John Legend will join Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas and Shakira in performing at an all-star concert that kicks off festivities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Some South African artists are dismayed that American artists were included at the expense of including more African musicians. 

Shakira’s World Cup anthem, “Waka, Waka – Time for Africa” which is a collaboration with South African group Freshlyground, has been largely panned by South Africans. It could be that the song sounds more Cameroonian than South African.

Luckily, South Africans Hugh Masekela, The Parlotones, Vusi Mahlasela and Benin’s Grammy Award-winning Angelique Kidjo have been added to the bill to assuage some fears. We get the concerns over who was included and excluded in the concert from a political and cultural standpoint, but music is universal and this a global event, isn’t it?