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Sunday, 8 April, 2001, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Boy George unites Bosnia's youth
Boy George in Banja Luka
Boy George gets a musical welcome in Banja Luka
British pop star-turned-dance DJ Boy George has performed in Bosnia at a music event that brought together youths from all of the country's ethnic communities.

The all-night gig in Banja Luka was supported by local radio station Oksigen (Oxygen), which airs Boy George's syndicated music show.

He is the biggest western name to play in the country since U2 staged a gig in Sarajevo in 1997.

Captain David Bailey of the Nato-led Stabilization Force, which runs the station, said some 3,500 youngsters had arrived from several towns across Bosnia.

Captain Bailey said the event showed that Bosnia's young people "can and want" to live together in their country.

Banja Luka was badly hit by the effects of the Yugoslav war.

Captain Bailey said: "S-For are here to create a safe and secure environment for post-war Bosnia and this event will unite the young people who are the future of this country."

Hit show

The former Culture Club star was invited to play after his radio show, which is aired on a local station, became a hit.

There's something about [dance music] that really brings people together

Boy George

Oksigen FM is said to be the only radio station in the country free of active propaganda.

Before the show, Boy George said he hoped it would bring people closer together.

"It sounds a bit na´ve in the UK to talk about dance music changing things," he said. "But there's something about it that really brings people together, that's why we were so happy to give them the show.

Bono from U2 in Sarajevo
U2 played in Sarajevo in 1997
"The generation in Britain before acid house was uptight, homophobic and unsophisticated. Now I get nobody giving me grief for being queer and happy, so that can work in Bosnia too."

Boy George, whose real name is George O'Dowd, had a worldwide hit with his band Culture Club when Karma Chameleon reached the top of the charts in 1983.

The nineties saw him move into dance music, and he has become a regular name on the British house music circuit.

Boy George's Clubversive radio programme is also syndicated to the Galaxy network, Kiss FM and stations in Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.

See also:

06 Apr 01 | Entertainment
George's glamour goes on
16 Nov 00 | Europe
Bosnia looks ahead
11 May 00 | Scotland
Souter and Boy George clash
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Boy George survives falling glitter ball
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