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June 2019
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2010-06-16 a message from Daryl

World Cup Fever

Africa hosts its first ever World Cup Finals and little did I realise that I had my own small links with the opening ceremony concert. The World Cup only comes around every four years and the greatest show on earth touches all walks, all countries, all shades of skin and religions. This makes it a profoundly exciting mix with everyone keen for their team to do well. Even though Ireland has no representation from the North or South everyone has been caught up with the extreme joy and energy that South Africa's opening concert and ceremony has done to instill positivity, new life and renewal.
My tentative links begin with the fact that a year ago, I had the privilege of performing at Glastonbury with the Playing For Change organisation. A group set up to promote and unite musicians all over the world. As part of that the Omagh Community Youth Choir were invited to perform. I myself had been asked to play keyboards in what had become a united nations of musicians and groups to headline on the World/Jazz stage.

It was during rehearsals that I had been introduced to Vusi Mahlasela a singer simply known as the 'Voice' from South Africa. To my shame I didn't realise that I was in the presence of an African legendary musician and singer. He had come to perform some of his songs and one of them was 'When you come back'. You can imagine my excitement last night as I watched Vusi one year on, take centre stage at the World Cup concert to perform this magnificent song. I was smiling from ear to ear!! I was also delighted to see that ITV had taken the song on as their theme for the World Cup TV coverage.

As I continued to watch the live celebrations I was enthralled then that another group that we had worked with were are also to perform. Tinariwen, the group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara desert region of Mali next stepped up to take their place in history. I suddenly remembered the joy and as we met them before our concert.

They were dressed in full Desert robes and had an almost spell binding presence of unity with each other. I watched as they listened to this little group of singers from Omagh rehearsing their song 'Imidiwan'. Their joy was evident in their faces and later their English based management explained how honoured they were to have us perform with them. I also laughed then when I saw the Bass player playing his desert brand of Blues. He had lost his guitar strap before the Glasto gig and was helped out by our own bass player Brian McNamee whom lent him his.
Unfortunately for Brian the strap wasn't returned but I would swear that strap was the one on show to the world audience of Millions!!! So maybe a wee part of Northern Ireland did make it to the World Cup this year!!

May the songs ring on........