CULTURE

Pop stars unite for the official Olympics album

An international cast of leading contemporary music performers, among them Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Avril Lavigne, Moby, Public Enemy, Neneh Cherry, Macy Gray and Keziah Jones, will feature on a forthcoming official Athens 2004 Olympics pop album titled «Unity.» The release, on the EMI Music multinational label, is scheduled for release on July 12. Hailing from 15 different countries across four continents, contributors to «Unity» have provided 16 tracks for the album, most of them performed by two or more acts, with harmony and peace as the underlying themes of songs. EMI Music declared, in a statement, that it would donate at least $180,000 (150,000 euros) to Unicef’s HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Songs on «Unity» include duets by Moby and Public Enemy; Earth Wind & Fire and Roots Manuva, the acclaimed British rapper; Sting and Mariza; Wayne Wonder and Neneh Cherry; and Keziah Jones and Macy Gray, the neo-soul star who, incidentally, has been booked for a performance in Athens on the day of the album’s release at the open-air Lycabettus Theater. Besides «Unity,» EMI Music also plans to release two further official Olympics albums during the summer, «Harmony,» focused on classical music, and «Phos,» a compilation of Greek artists. «The ‘Unity’ album is so much more than a collection of songs. It is a message of participation, friendship and peace,» Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of Athens 2004, the Olympics’ organizing committee, said in a statement. «As the Olympic Flame makes its way around the world for the first truly global torch relay, this album will also be an invitation for people everywhere to join us in the historic homecoming of the Olympic Games to Greece,» she added. The vice chairman of EMI Music, David Munns, noted: «EMI is privileged to be involved with the Athens Olympic Games and, through the involvement of the artists on the record, to embrace the Olympic values of peace and unity. This is a unique record for what is the greatest of sporting occasions. I would personally like to thank all the artists for their contributions and commitment to the record’s theme of peace.»