Former Sugababe Mutya Buena joins Britpop legend Jarvis Cocker on stage tonight for the UK’s largest concert against knife crime.
The eclectic list of musicians will perform in central London to deliver their message to young people who carry knives that there is an alternative.
The concert takes place at the Southbank Centre in Lambeth, a borough that has seen two teenage deaths in violent attacks in 2008 from the grim figure of 28 across the capital.
Comedian Marcus Brigstocke, American singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton and former So Solid Crew rapper Asher D also feature on the bill.
The concert is the brainchild of beatbox artist Schlomo – beatboxing is an urban music style in which vocal chords alone produce the sound of drums and other instruments.
And, in an a cappella twist to their classic hits, Schlomo will provide a beatbox backing to songs sung by Jarvis Cocker and Mutya Buena.
Schlomo believes his talent, and sharing it with disaffected youngsters, can help reduce knife crime in the capital.
He said: “I really believe that beatboxing and music in general gives us the potential to inspire a change, to move away from the despondent attitudes that have led to problems with postcode wars, drugs, knives and gun crime.
“Working creatively with young people gives them an opportunity to take an interest in their own development. Suddenly it can be considered cool to apply yourself to something.
“Beatboxing is an ideal tool: it is uniquely inclusive because everybody has a voice. You don’t need to pay a penny for any equipment, and a group of people can start to make music together in no time at all. Plus it’s cool, kids want to do it.”
And the concert has received the backing of London Mayor Boris Johnson who said: “Music and other creative activities can provide the much needed opportunities and motivation for young people to reach their potential and stay on the right track.
“I am pleased to be able to support Shlomo’s event and I wish him well with his future outreach projects.”
An anti-knife crime concert organised by the family of Ben Kinsella, 16, from Islington, north London, was postponed earlier this year.
The Street Peace Live Concert had been planned for September 21 in Finsbury Park but will now take place in summer 2009.
:: A Concert Against Knife Crime opens at 7.30pm at the Southbank Centre.