United Nations Day has traditionally been celebrated with a special concert held in the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York. While usually sponsored by one of the 192 Member States of the United Nations, the 2009 UN Day Concert was instead organized in partnership between the UN Department of Public Information and our friends at the Culture Project as "A Tribute to Peacekeeping," focusing on the heroic work of UN peacekeepers in some of the most troubled areas on Earth, featuring appearances from a variety of artists representing different regions of the world. In turn they asked Link to help recruit an international all-star cast to take the stage for "A Tribute To Peacekeeping."
Introduced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and emceed by CNN International's Isha Sesay, the concert opened with Emmanuel Jal's stirring tribute to "Emma," the aid worker who rescued him as a child soldier in Sudan.
Harry Belafonte followed with an eloquent speech about his personal experiences with peacekeepers, and the music continued with Salman Ahmad performing the Sufi classic "Allah Hu." World famous pianist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lang-Lang delivered the stirring "Hungarian Rhapsody," and the evening then launched into inspired performances by John McLaughlin with Remember Shakti joined by tabla master Zakir Hussain and Indian singing star Shankar Mahadevan.
Nile Rodgers and band kept things percolating as they backed up both Senegalese rapper Sister Fa and Angelique Kidjo, who got the audience on its feet. The evening was capped by all the artists joining Colombian supergroup Aterciopelados on the stage of the General Assembly for a special performance of their song "The Price of Silence," from the video produced by Link TV for Amnesty International in 2008.
That video saw musicians from around the world placed on the General Assembly stage through CGI. This time it was for real, and it rocked the house.