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Last Updated: Friday, 18 November 2005, 16:07 GMT
Politicised Eno to sing in Arabic
Brian Eno
Eno has previously appeared at various Stop The War marches
Brian Eno has been speaking about his return to singing live as part of a concert in London.

The former Roxy Music musician and producer, who has organised the concert will sing in Arabic with rising Arabic rock star Rachid Taha. The other acts on the bill will be Imogen Heap and Nitin Sawhney.

Eno has previously played with Taha in Paris, Moscow and St Petersburg.

The show is in aid of the UK's Stop The War Coalition - to be held on 27 November - a pressure group founded to oppose to the war in Iraq.

Eno, who has a long history of political activism, told BBC World Service's The Music Biz programme that all high-profile musicians had an "unfair advantage" and that they had a choice of how they used it.

"If you're in the arts or some kind of celebrity, you get the microphone pointed at you," he said.

"You can either choose to ignore that, and carry on talking about yourself, or you can say, 'Here's a chance to exert some sort of pressure for change.'

"I think if somebody doesn't do something about it - even if its only a baffled confused artist - nothing's going to get any better."


Eno, who first discovered Arabic music while on holiday on the Mediterranean coast in the mid-1970s, is particularly enthusiastic about the hybrid Arabic rock that Taha makes.

"I think, really, in some ways it's the future," he said.

Rachid Taha
It would be a social revolution if Rachid became a big star in America
Brian Eno
"For me, it would be so fantastic - it would be a social revolution if Rachid became a big star in America."

The concert is a continuation of Eno's recent return to vocal performance.

His recent album, Another Day On Earth, was his first solo album of songs since 1974.

Eno said he had however, been maintaining his interest in singing by forming an a cappella group which meets every week. Occasional members are other high-profile singers including Annie Lennox, Jason Donovan and Belinda Carlisle.

Meanwhile, Eno also explained that he has been busy with three art installations, in Munich, Lyon, and Beijing.

In particular, he explained how the one in Beijing - entitled Alter Of The Sun - had been inspired by the senior citizens who inhabit the public park in which it is set.

As a result, he made a piece he hoped they would like, featuring a walled circle containing the sound of 16 separate bells recorded on 16 CDs.

"My mother died this year like most old people in England - in a home, having been propped up in front of daytime television for the last 10 years of her life," Eno said.

"I went to these parks in Beijing, and there are groups of old people doing ballroom dancing together at 7.30 in the morning, Tai Chi, playing chess - one 76-year-old lady teaching a 66-year-old lady how to do tap dancing.

"These are all oldish people - some people were 95 - and they all looked like they were enjoying their lives and enjoying each other's company.

"I thought this was possibly the biggest social revolution we could make - to get the idea back that the end of your life is a time of joy and fulfilment, rather than a time when you're swept off into the corner and forgotten about."

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